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A barter way to settle up.

The plumber's just fixed your leaking tap - and it hasn't cost you a penny.

Mind you, he's not doing it for free - you'll pay by doing someone's ironing or a spot of plastering.

Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) are a smart way of pooling services so you don't need to shell out hard cash.

More than 35,000 people have joined LETS groups, first created by environmental groups in the late 1980s.

Each member offers a service which is then listed in a directory.

The buyer writes a special LETS cheque to the value of the work, and all buying and selling is recorded by the group's treasurer.

At the end of each month a statement recording what you've spent and how much you owe will arrive.

The idea is to achieve a balance.

Jonathan Croall, author of LETS Act Locally, a guide to setting up your own scheme, says: "LETS are great for local economies because the money stays in the area. They also allow people to discover skills they didn't know they had."

If there is no LETS in your area you can set one up.

To find your nearest LETS call Lets Link on 01705 730 639. It also offers advice and help on setting one up. The service costs an initial pounds 10, plus pounds 25 a year.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Husband, John
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 2, 1997
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