Blackpool Tourism BID

Business Improvement Districts

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are not-for-profit partnerships within a defined area, in which the local businesses have voted to invest together to improve their environment. A BID is brought in through a democratic ballot process and the services provided are additional to those delivered by the Council.

There are over 300 BIDs in the UK, approaching 10% more than 2017, suggesting an increasing benefit to the local business communities where BIDs are operating. In the past 18 months, circa 30 new BIDs have been established. The overall success rate for the 513 ballots from 2005 to July 2018 was 97%.

The total annual BID levy currently raised across the UK is £110m; the smallest BID collected £18,500 per annum and the largest collected £3,979,000. Half of all the BIDs have a levy income of £246,221 or less. With 120,735 businesses contributing £110m, the average income is £916 per business. The typical number of businesses within a BID is 200–400.

Leverage is the amount by which a BID manages to increase its own levy income by gaining extra funding from other sources; this level of direct additional income compared to actual levy income represents additional investment of 11% (£13m), a ratio of 1:10. 43% of UK BIDs report investment income as a direct result of their BID activity – a total of £51m has been raised primarily from Local Economic Partnerships or commercial activity. In total, BIDs invest over £175m into their local economies.

A successful BID has to have 'buy-in' from the majority of those who will finance it – both for a successful vote and also to ensure the partnership evolves in a positive environment.

A BID seeks to provide greater strategic context for business, galvanize the business community, statutory authorities and wider stakeholders behind a common vision for the district and generate an enhanced income stream which would benefit the whole area in terms of service provision. It would provide the business community with an ability to influence and help shape the future.

Why do businesses support BIDs?

  • Return on investment
  • A better environment for business
  • A more effectively managed and sustainable district
  • A destination of choice for visitors, businesses and residents alike
  • Effective engagement with the wider community

Governed by Government legislation and regulations, BIDs are statutorily established once voted for by the majority of businesses in an area and have a maximum term of five years before returning to their electorate for renewal. Once a majority vote has been achieved, a BID levy becomes mandatory on all defined ratepayers.

For a BID to be introduced, the ballot of business must meet two conditions: A majority in number of those voting and a majority in proportion of rateable value of those voting. The BID levy is then applicable to all eligible businesses.

To ensure neutrality, the BID ballot is administered by the Council Returning Officer and their electoral services staff. It is arranged in line with rules set out in the BID regulations (2004) as approved by Parliament.

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Acknowledgements.

Project Steering Group & Partners.