What is a Business Improvement District (BID)?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led initiative where businesses and organisations are invited to come together, in partnership with local authorities and public service providers, to make decisions and to take action to improve the trading environment within a defined geographic area.

What are the Benefits?

The BID itself provides a means by which businesses and organisations have the power to raise their own funds to address the priorities that matter to them, and to bring about positive improvements to the trading environment that benefits the whole community.

A spirit of collaboration, sharing knowledge, pooling resources and benefiting from economies of scale can add value to each individual business as well as improving  the business district as a whole. Whether its focus is attracting more visitors and encouraging customers to stay longer, or raising the standards of local services and facilities, action to deliver an agreed set of projects and services has the potential to transform an area through collective action.

How is it paid for?

Much of the income needed to deliver projects and services through a BID comes from a BID levy – an additional charge alongside the Business Rates.  This is collected on behalf of businesses by the Local Rates Authority (Barrow Borough Council) but is held in a ring-fenced account and used only for costs directly associated with the delivery of the BID, in other words the projects agreed and voted for by the participating businesses.

Is it just another tax?

The levy is NOT a tax and does not go to either the Government or the local authorities. Business Rates, together with the Council Tax, pays for statutory and non-statutory services such as cleansing, lighting, policing etc. The BID levy is a separate, specific fund to invest in projects and services identified and controlled by the businesses themselves. It provides for improvements and benefits in addition to existing services provided by Barrow Borough Council and other public service bodies.

Who manages the BID?

The Barrow BID Board (made up of businesses in the BID area) keeps control of the money and decides how it is spent. The Board is made up of individuals who represent a cross-section of business sectors contributing to the levy.

Who pays and how much will it cost?

  • Any person, registered company or charity/non profit-making organisation are liable for the BID levy if they are the occupier/leaseholder of a property within the BID area. The billing period will run from the 1st September each year to the last day of August of the following year. Barrow BID began on 1st September 2016 and will run for 5 years.
  • Payments must be made in one full instalment in accordance with the payment amount and date shown on the front of the Demand Notice that is sent out by Liberata.
  • The BID Levy is 1.5% of Rateable Value to keep it proportionate and affordable for ratepayers.
  • If your Rateable Value is above £4,000 you will be liable to pay the BID levy even if you receive rate relief. Some businesses may pay nothing for their rates but will still pay the BID Levy as their rateable value is above £4,000.
  • If an hereditament is vacant, the eligible ratepayer will be liable for the full BID Levy, even if the building is closed and/or under renovation. The BID board does not have the authority to allow concessions.

Where’s the evidence that BIDs work?

There are almost 300 BIDs operating throughout the UK, so we are able to learn much about what works and what impact projects are having in BID areas. For instance, Rugby was one of the first formal BIDs to be created and, since it launched, has seen a substantial improvement in the performance of its market, a remarkable transformation of its physical cleanliness and a dramatic downturn in evening anti-social behaviour. Marketing and promotion for the town is noticeably stronger too.

How can I get involved or find out more?

This is a business led initiative and like you we are running businesses of our own. We therefore need as much help as possible so please get in touch!

How do I pay for the levy?

You will receive a Levy Bill from Liberata and this must be paid in a single payment. Methods of payment are shown on the bill or you can pay by going here.

Contact

You can contact Barrow BID by emailing manager@barrowbid.co.uk

What is the Barrow BID area