Discover about BIDs
What is a BID?
A BID or Business Improvement District is a business led and business funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area.
The benefits of BIDs cited by the businesses they represent are wide-ranging and include:
- Businesses decide and direct what they want for the area
- Businesses are represented and have a voice in issues effecting the area
- BID levy money is ring-fenced for use only in the BID area – unlike business rates
- Increased footfall
- Improved staff retention
- Business cost reduction
- Area promotion
- Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses
- Assistance in dealing with the Council, Police and other public bodies
Since their introduction to the UK with the first formal ballot in December 2004 the number of Formal BIDs in the UK and the Republic of Ireland has steadily risen to 153 by 2013 of which 122 are town centre BIDs.
These figures represent over 50,000 businesses investing millions of pounds per year in their local areas whether they be towns, city centres or industrial estates.
As well as managing projects to improve the local area, BIDs are very significant in representing the views of business to local authorities.
How it works
A BID Business Plan identifies a list of projects and a number of factors including defining the BID area.
All eligible businesses in the area are given a vote in a ballot run by the Local Authority.
A BID only goes ahead if 50% or more of eligible businesses vote in favour of it and the aggregate rateable value of those voting in favour exceeds that of those who voted against.
After a successful ballot all eligible businesses are charged an annual levy on their Rateable Value administered and collected on behalf of the BID Company by the Local Authority.
The rate of levy can be as high as 5% of Rateable Value but is most often 1%.
The running of BIDs is defined by legislation and the activities of BID Companies is monitored on behalf of the Government by the Local Authority. The BID Board is made up of levy payer Directors elected at an AGM.
Key BID Facts
- In the UK, the majority of BIDs exist in town centres (but also in industrial, commercial and mixed-use locations).
- The BID mechanism allows for a large degree of flexibility and as a result BIDs vary greatly in ‘shape’ and size.
- The average size of a BID is 300-400 hereditaments, with some having fewer than 50 hereditaments and others over 1,000.
- Annual income is typically £200,000-£600,000 but can be as little as £50,000 per annum and over £2 million.
- Legislation enabling the formation of BIDs was passed in 2003 in England and Wales and published in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
- The first BID in England started in January 2005.
- BIDs were first established in Canada and the US in the 1960s and now exist across the globe.
For further information visit the British BIDs website.