Common questions asked about Business Improvement Districts

Blog Post by Mark Stevenson 23 April 2015

Over the past 10 years, Business Improvement Districts (BID) has grown to over 200 in the UK. They've become a common feature in towns and cities and because of this, a number of common questions are asked.

What is a BID?

A BID is set up in a geographical area where businesses have voted to invest collectively over and above what the local authority is doing for the better of the area. This money is paid for and collected by the businesses to enhance services in that town or city. The Business Improvement District Regulations 2004 enable local businesses and other stakeholders to form partnerships to implement improvements, which will benefit their local area. BIDs work in addition to existing services provided by the local authority to encourage the revitalisation of an area, addressing issues such as image, security, cleanliness or local transport.

What is the difference between the BID levy and my rates?

The BID levy is collected and reinvested by the BID board/company to supply services over and above those supplied by the local authority through business rates. It's not there to replace these services or pay for services that are already included.

What does the BID management company do?

The BID management company works on behalf of the board to make sure the levy is collected and reinvested in the agreed way. The management company reports to the board and normally employs the team needed to deliver the BIDs objectives on a day to day basis.

Can I opt out of the BID?

Each BID has a set term that it delivers on. This is normally 5 years, but each BID can alter that period within its business plan prior to a vote. Once a vote has taken place with the set level of levy payers (rateable value set by the Board/Executive Body) and the vote is successful, then those businesses are liable for the charge and cannot opt out. Further work should be done to explain the BIDs objectives and how it will support that business and others.

These are the main questions asked by businesses within a BID or even prior to a BID setting up. For more information on BIDs in the UK visit:


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