1. What is a BID?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a geographically defined area within which businesses contribute a percentage of their rateable value to be spent on initiatives set out in the BID Business Plan for the benefit of the businesses within the BID area.
A BID is only established if a vote is successful at ballot, this requires a majority in number and by rateable value.
There are over 270 BIDs throughout the UK.
2. How is a BID established?
The process of developing a BID involves widespread consultation with city centre businesses to ascertain what improvements they want. The BID Steering Group will then produce a Business Plan and a 28 day ballot held where eligible businesses vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ the proposed plans. For the BID to be established, two conditions must be met; firstly, a majority of those voting have to vote ‘yes’ and secondly those ‘yes’ votes have to represent a majority of the total rateable value of all vote cast.
3. How can a BID benefit businesses?
Since their introduction to the UK in 2004 BIDs have been viewed by many businesses as a sustainable and affordable way of producing a ring-fenced fund for 5 years that is managed by business for business. Across the UK there is clear evidence of the accomplishment of BID schemes which have led to increased footfall, higher spending, cleaner, safer and more vibrant town and city centres.
4. How much will I pay? And how often?
If approved at ballot each business whose rateable value is equal to or above or the threshold of £20,000 will contribute 1.25% of their rateable value. However in recognition of the services provided by their landlords businesses that are part of a shopping centre will benefit from a discount and are therefore liable for a levy rate of 1%. Businesses with a rateable value below £20,000 will be exempt from the levy. They can make voluntary contributions should they wish to be involved with any of the initiatives.
The levy is collected annually.
5. Do I still pay even if I vote ‘no’?
If you vote ‘no’ yet the ballot results in a majority of businesses in favour (both in number and rateable value) you will be liable to pay the levy.
6. Shouldn’t the Council be paying for this through my business rates?
There is no link between the amount of business rate collected by the Council and the amount it receives back from Central Government to deliver services in the area.
A BID generates revenue that is ring-fenced for the area in which it is collected, to be spent on projects for the benefit of businesses that pay the BID levy. All services provided by the BID will be additional to those provided by the Council. Additionality is ensured through the production of a ‘Baseline Agreement’ which sets out the standard level of statutory service that is already provided for the BID area. This ensures that the BID levy only funds services and projects over and above this level.
7. How long does it run for?
The maximum term a BID can run for is 5 years, upon which a renewal ballot is held. Currently renewal rate stands at 90%.
8. I’m located outside the identified BID area. This BID won’t help me, will it?
You should benefit from what’s described as the ‘Halo Effect’ whereby businesses outside the BID area experience the positive impact from BID initiatives. We are proposing an Associate Member Scheme so businesses outside the BID area or below the BID levy threshold can contribute to the BID fund in order to gain access to BID initiatives that would directly benefit them.