Business Improvement Districts, (BIDs), originated in Canada in the 1980s and quickly spread to the USA.
In January 2004 the Government introduced legislation which created the legal framework for setting up BIDs in Britain. To date over 185 have been established in the UK. They have been credited with halting and reversing the decline in many towns and cities. BIDs last for three or five years. Of the 87 that have come up for renewal, 78 have been voted in for a second term, usually with an increased turnout and majority. BIDs are successful!
BIDs work on simple principles. Businesses decide what projects they wish to undertake to improve the area and their profitability. Every eligible organisation contributes a small percentage of their business rateable value (usually around 1% or 2%). From these many contributions a significant fund is built up which has the power to make a real difference.
Based on a 1.5% levy the Coastal Districts BID generates a core income of C.£466,000. Because of the power of the BID it is possible to attract additional income through voluntary contributions and match funding for key projects etc.
BIDs make places more attractive and exciting to visit, reducing costs to participating businesses, increasing footfall and putting local businesses in control of the additional services which they have funded.