London, Oct 12 : With the global credit crunch hitting big time, British consumers have turned to bartering as a way to cope with it.
Most of the families across the UK have started swapping surplus food and drink, personal possessions, their skills, and even their homes in a bid to save money.
The economic crisis has in recent months seen a huge demand for websites such as Barterswap UK, ValueforPeople.co.uk or Tradeyourskills.co.uk, which act as online marketplaces for those who want to swap their wares. One such website is the Time bank, which encourages people to be of service with their skills, without and monetary gains, and in return to call on the services of fellow members.
The swapping schemes have been sprouting up across the country in the past two months, and smaller barter websites are also reporting a significant boost to their businesses.
Judy Berger, who set up the Whatsmineisyours fashion website four years ago to cater for customers who were interested in trading and swapping clothes, has noticed a huge increase in the number of swaps.
"When we started in 2004 the economy was strong and the site used to specialise in sales," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
"But now it has gone completely the other way around and we have had a 33 per cent increase in the number of swaps.
"We are now averaging about 1,500 different swaps a month and that is because of the economic climate," she added. The schemes range from swapping of books, clothes, food, service, and anything that can be of use and that can be swapped. "I think without a doubt these kinds of schemes are becoming more popular as times get harder. Because there is no cash involved you eliminate VAT and income tax," Dominic Littlewoood, a financial expert and presenter on the BBC's One Show said.
"People are counting these pennies and these totally cashless schemes are becoming more popular," he added.