About BIDs in Scotland
What is a Business Improvement District?
A Business Improvement District (BID) is businesses working together and investing collectively in local improvements, in addition to those delivered by the statutory authorities, which will be of benefit to the businesses involved whilst contributing to the sustainable economic growth of the local economy.
By working together businesses can reduce costs, share risks and create new platforms for growth.
BIDs in Scotland are not restricted to town and city centres, to allow for innovative BIDs to be developed in areas such as the hospitality sector, tourism and visitor markets, commercial or industrial districts, rural areas, agriculture or single sector businesses who wish to collectively improve their business environment.
They are often, although not exclusively, a partnership arrangement through which the local business community and the statutory authorities can take forward projects which will benefit the local economy.
A BID is not a substitute for central or local government investment, but an additional investment to strengthen the local economy and give local businesses a unified voice, helping to provide an arena for businesses and local authorities to increase their understanding of each others priorities.
'Stronger working together than working alone'.
BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector by means of a compulsory BID levy which the businesses within the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established. Each business liable to contribute to the BID will be able to vote on whether or not the BID goes ahead.
The interests of both large and small businesses are protected through a voting system that requires a majority in the numerical votes cast and the rateable value of votes cast.
Borne out of Town Centre Management Partnerships (TCMPs), the concept was originally set up in Canada but took off in the US in the late 1970s.
The BID concept has proved successful in growing the local economy and helping to maintain and improve the asset value.
A BID can last for no more than five years, and will either be dissolved at the end of its term or will seek a new mandate by way of a renewal ballot.
Success stories include Enterprising Bathgate, Clackmannanshire Business Parks, Essential Edinburgh, Falkirk Delivers, Inverness City, Alloa, Dunfermline Delivers, Embrace Elgin, I Love Clarkston, Kirkcaldy4All and Aberdeen. Details of the ballots held so far can be found at BIDs Scotland Ballot Results.
“The Business Improvement District (BID) initiative is growing and has a direct link to the Government’s Purpose of supporting sustainable economic growth. The BID model is particularly relevant in the current economic climate. Its flexibility enables the private and public sectors to work together and invest in improvements to the local business environment, while contributing to the wider regeneration of the local community. Businesses also benefit from the sharing of good practice across BID areas.”
Mr Derek Mackay
Minister for Local Government and Planning