Business Improvement Districts
A Business Improvement District (BID) is created when a majority of businesses in a specified area vote 'Yes' to funding a business plan through a levy on their business rates. The BID then has secure funding for typically five years. Achieving a Yes vote is not only down to the strength of the business plan on offer, but also on the BID development team who will need to work hard to engage every potential voter in the proposed BID area, as BIDs are directly accountable to their levy payers and need to deliver on their promises. More often than not BIDs are sufficiently successful at improving the trading environment for their levy payers that they get another five years when renewal time comes around.
A BID can include all the businesses in their chosen area, or be sector specific e.g. Evening Economy, or Retail. BIDs can add value to, but must not replace, services delivered by local authorities. The levy rate is set by each location, but typically ranges from one to three percent of business rates. The levy becomes mandatory for all the eligible businesses provided at least 50% of those who vote say Yes. The levy is then collected by the local authority on behalf of the BID and paid to the BID, sometimes less a collection charge. Often smaller businesses below an agreed threshold are excluded from the mandatory levy, but are invited to make a voluntary contribution. To make a BID more even effective voluntary agreements with property owners can be negotiated. Many will be happy to contribute if the BID proposal is strong because a vibrant high street is in their interest.
For more information, visit ATCM BIDs.