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Models of LETS: Consultants and advisers tend to place emphasis on one or other of the extremes in the continuum between community or business orientation of LETS schemes. The former would tend to emphasis participation of and accountability to members; the latter would tend to emphasise efficiency. However, most LETS organisers would be hard put to identify where they belong in such a continuum - they get help and advice where they can, respond to local conditions and to their own perception of what is needed, and use whatever resources are available to them locally to maintain and promote their scheme.

Funding LETS Development: similarly, some groups believe that they can work best when properly funded and resources whilst others take the view that they work best on a grassroots level when their workload does not include reporting to authority figures on how funding has been disbursed. These attitudes may or may not coincide with intentions around community or business orientation of LETS. It has yet to be shown that running a LETSystem can be economically self-sustaining in sterling, whilst groups vary widely on the extent to which they are generous in allocating payments in their own local currency to LETS organisers, and the extent to which they are prepared to issue currency from a system account below zero. One way forward which has recently been suggested is to link LETS schemes with Hour Banks and to acknowledge organiser effort by payments from Hour Banks - this has yet to be explored in practice.

Benefits Campaign: Several research reports have shown that the ambiguity in the DSS regulations and the varying way in which they are interpreted locally may give people claiming benefits cause to fear that their trading on LETS could count against their benefits. On this basis, LETSlink UK has been running a campaign for some years to persuade the government to declare a total disregard of LETS when calculating what benefits are due to an individual, which could be done by amending small print in the relevant legislation. For the latest on the current campaign see: www.letslinkuk.org. Meanwhile other groups take the view that the way forward is not to draw attention unnecessarily to the economically unconventional activities of individuals participating in LETS, and therefore have misgivings about the campaign.

Monetary Reform? LETSlink UK's and LETSlink LONDON's policy is to promote and support the development of Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) as complementary currencies, ie operating alongside the existing monetary system, and to gain the support of government and its agencies in so doing, as one way of of advancing the development of sustainable communities and assisting those in poverty. We are working within the existing legal framework and therefore do not officially have a view on reform of the monetary system. However we recognise that many of those working in LETS schemes will have had their awareness raised by the experience of creating their own money and will therefore be interested to follow these other kinds of debates. For further details of different areas of the campaign contact Peter Challen <101665.1247@compuserve.com> and <Sabine@globalnet.co.uk>.

ARTICLES from Newsletters, Conferences papers and Research Reports and Book Reviews are ARCHIVED showing the most recent first. We welcome the addition of more material for this section. LETSlink London now has a Message Board accessible via www.letslink.org