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In this section you will find answers to many frequently asked questions. If you feel that you have a question that is still unanswered please get in touch with us via the Contact Us section.
A Business Improvement District (or BID) is a business led initiative where businesses get together to decide what improvements they would like to see in their area. This is funded by a small levy on the business rates of properties in the BID area. They also decide how this should be managed and what this will cost. Funding is raised by placing a small levy on the business rate that will be spent by the BID group. A formal ballot is held to determine whether the BID proposal will go ahead.
BIDs have been successfully operating in the US and Canada for many years and are increasing in popularity in the UK. There are now over 140 established BID in the Uk that are investing millions of pounds in their areas.
In the North East, a BID was established to improve the Longhill and Sandgate Industrial Estate in Hartlepool in 2008 , and more recently Newcastle NE1 has been established as a BID company to drive forward the city centre. In March 2012 businesses in Darlington voted in favour of a BID which will invest £1.5 million over the next 5 years.
Elsewhere, BIDs are operating in many places including Plymouth, Lincoln, Bedford, Blackpool, Rugby, Ipswich, Hull, Nottingham, Swindon, Derby, Preston, Worcester, Bury, Solihull and Mansfield. Many of these BID have been incredibly successful and after 5-years businesses have voted in favour of investing in a new BID.
It is important to remember that Middlesbrough Council and the public bodies will continue to fund services in the town centre and it is the additionality that the BID will provide that will deliver the projects outlined in the Business Plan.
If we want the town to be better promoted, hold quality events and attract more people into Middlesbrough the only way to fund this would be with the help of the BID. It is additional activity and funding that will be provided by the BID that will provide the means to promote Middlesbrough to a wider audience and help to develop your business.
BIDs tend to address a range of activity including marketing and promotion, security for businesses and customers, better transport and access arrangements and cleaner streets as well as other operational matters which compliment existing local authority services. A BID can deliver many projects or services that have been decided by businesses.
The MiddlesbroughBID proposition has been developed over the last 18 months and is based upon feedback from businesses within the BID area.
The BID investment proposals are based around four key priority themes:
- improving the customer experience in the town centre during the day and evening,
- building town centre loyalty by encouraging those already in the town centre, working or visiting, to stay longer,
- developing a rolling programme of marketing, promotion and events to attract more people from the catchment area to visit the town centre during both the day and in the evening,
- providing direct benefit to town centre businesses by exploring ways we can help to reduce costs.
Underpinning these four aims, the MiddlesbroughBID will also:
- provide a stronger voice for town centre businesses and a mechanism to discuss key issues and inform key decisions that will need to be made.
The MiddlesbroughBID proposals have been developed by the Town Centre Management Team on behalf of the Town Centre Partnership. The Town Centre Management Team have had many discussions with businesses to develop the Business Plan.
The BID will require staff to manage, administer and deliver the proposed projects. The Council are proposing to continue to fund the Town Centre Management Team and devolve responsibility of the team to the BID Board for the duration of the BID. This amounts to an additional contribution of around £800k from Middlesbrough Council.
The MiddlesbroughBID would be funded by a small levy on the business rates of properties in the defined BID area, so larger businesses pay more and smaller ones pay less. Any business with a rateable value of less than £9,999 will be exempt from the ballot and will not be liable to pay the levy.
The levy for the MiddlesbroughBID has been agreed at 1.2%
Once businesses have decided what initiatives and improvements they want to make to the area then projects and services are costed. This is detailed in a business plan, including proposals for how to pay for the delivery of the proposed initiatives. This is usually in the form of a ‘BID levy’ which is a small charge (usually between 1% and 2%) of business rates within the defined BID area. In some BIDs a threshold is introduced to support small businesses.
A formal vote then takes place with businesses in the proposed BID area. All those liable to pay the levy are eligible to vote and if the majority vote in favour, by number and rateable value, then all businesses within the BID area will pay. It is normally the occupiers of the property, i.e. the business rate payer, that pays the BID Levy and is eligible to vote.
In addition, BIDs can draw in other voluntary funding from property ownersor public sector bodies and can raise additional revenue through delivering services on behalf of other organisations.
However, unlike business rates, none of the BID levy money goes to Centre Government. All of the money collected from businesses within the BID area remains in the area and is spent on projects you want to see delivered.
The first stage is normally to engage and consult with businesses within the proposed BID area to identify the improvements they would like to see delivered. As part of this process a BID Steering Group is established of representatives from the businesses in the BID area who put together a detailed Business Plan setting out the projects and services it aims to deliver.
The Business Plan will include the projects, cost, delivery guarantees, performance indicators and the management structure. A confidential postal vote is then delivered to all the businesses that would pay the BID levy. To protect the interests of large and small businesses, a majority of those that vote must be in favour, by number and rateable value.
The Middlesbrough Town Centre Partnership has been acting as a pre-BID Advisory Group to help advise an shape the work and will continue to do so until a more formal BID Steering Group can be established.
Following a successful ballot the BID will then have a mandate for a maximum of 5 years after which it needs to seek re-ballot if it wants to continue.
No, the local authority remains committed to continuing to delivering services in Middlesbrough Town Centre and this is not about a BID being used to replace local authority funding for the town centre but about businesses working together and making an investment in those things which will benefit their business.
The money from the BID levy can be used for projects and services which are additional to those that public sector bodies provide. Whilst also engaging and consulting with businesses about the BID, the Town Centre Management Team will also be working with the public sector bodies, including the local authority, the police and others to establish and benchmark the current quality of services being delivered in the area. It will then be expected that this level of service will be maintained for the period of the BID demonstrating the commitment of the public sector.
The Business Plan proposal will include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which the BID will seek to achieve over its life. Performance against these key indicators will be monitored by the BID Board and reported regularly to all businesses within the BID area to demonstrate what the funding is being used to deliver.
As well as expressing your views and opinions, we're also looking for Steering Group members to help shape further discussion and development of a BID, so if you want to actively involved please do not hesitate to contact us.
The first stage is to consult with businesses about what improvements they'd like to see and collate these into a list of options. The Steering Group will then help to shape this into a Business Plan and this will be presented for further consultation. If Businesses seem broadly happy with the proposal then this could proceed for formal vote.