A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led, business-funded partnership, which undertakes to make improvements to a clearly defined geographical area, like Canterbury city centre. There are more than 200 BIDs nationally, including Brighton, Winchester, Guildford and Cambridge.
BIDs may carry out any projects or improvements that are additional to those already provided by the local authority which means that the funding cannot be pulled from services that are already provided in your business rates. BIDs establish baseline agreements with the local authorities and other statutory service providers on the current the level of service provision in the area. These ensure that any services the BID provides are truly additional.
BIDs are funded by the businesses that benefit from them, and the money is ring fenced so that it can only be spent within the BID area on initiatives that have been agreed to in a formal business plan. The levy charged can be between1–3%. In Canterbury’s case the levy will be 1.5%. BIDs run for between 3 – 5 years. Canterbury BID will run for 5 years (98%of BIDs have a 5 year term).
Businesses vote on the establishment of a BID and for a BID ballot to be successful it must be won on two counts:
1. A straight majority by the number of those voting
2. By a majority in the Rateable Value of those voting
Once a ballot is successful the BID levy is mandatory for all eligible businesses. The BID levy is collected by the local authority, put into a ring-fenced account, and passed to the BID Company for use on the projects and services set out in the BID Business Plan.
All BIDs are non-political and work only in the best interests of their levy payers.
According to the British BIDs Nationwide Survey 2015 which was compiled on the 1st April 2015: