Misconceptions

 
It’s a stealth tax relinquishing local authorities of their responsibilities

No, it’s definitely not a stealth tax. It’s a payment in return for services which are outlined in the BID proposal – these need to be in addition to what is already being delivered in the BID area.

Ultimately, the BID is a privately funded, business-led initiative, with funds that are managed by local businesses.

The funds collected from the businesses and other organisations eligible to pay the levy, such as the local authority and town council, does not go to the government or council. It is collected for traders/businesses to use how they decide is most appropriate for their collective needs; this will be supplementary to what is being provided by local and national government.

A BID levy is usually determined as a percentage of the total rateable value of a business premises (and that of other organisations such as local authority premises). The total rateable value is the most frequent measure as it is an effective way to determine variation between businesses on the basis of scale. The funds raised go directly to the BID stakeholders’ company, to spend towards improving their business community; a BID levy is not the same as business rates which does go to central government.

 

Its services should be delivered by the local council

The services delivered by the BID will be detailed in a proposal document, which all those eligible to pay the levy will vote on.

To ensure that services will be additional to what’s already delivered, the BID will have a baseline agreement with the local authority which details the services they currently deliver.

BID funds are ONLY for projects in addition to those delivered by the local councils and can only be spent to improve the area in which they are raised.

 

It gives a false illusion that it can increase footfall and trade/business

A BID will have the ability to advertise the town and contribute towards improving the town centre to meet business and visitor needs; although increasing footfall and trade/businesses are not promises, they are very realistic aims. The success of the projects will be down to the effectiveness of the programme and its relevance to the local area.

We would look to implement strict monitoring procedures to evaluate the success of projects and the BID’s work. This would include quantitative analysis (using data such as footfall figures and vacancy rates) and qualitative analysis (such as visitor and business surveys).

Regular reports would be made publicly available and distributed to the local business community.

Ultimately, those that fund the BID will have the say on whether it has delivered value for money through a re-ballot, which will take place at the end of a BID term (a maximum of 5 years).

 

It gives false claims of restoring town business success to those of the pre-global recession days; before World Wide Web, out of town shopping with free parking, before consumers lost their level of disposable income

As town centre traders/businesses, we are fully aware of the economic facts. We are also realistic and honest, so do not, cannot and will not promise this. Our aims are to help our town find a positive way forward in this modern world.

Whilst we cannot and will not make these promises, we will seek innovative mechanisms by which to impact on these issues.

Other places have done it with businesses taking the lead to achieve successful, why can’t we?

 

BID directors will waste money on self-perks

Made up of town centre traders/businesses, elected BID directors will be representing you, friends and neighbours. Clear financial procedures are outlined in the BID proposal which prevent any unlawful activity on behalf of members of the board. We will abide by the industry guidance regarding transparent finance and governance procedures and the publication of accounts, as set out by the British Retail Consortium, the Inter Banking Rating Forum, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the British Council of Shopping Centres.

Our BID steering group meetings and activities have always been transparent and clear, and will remain so in the eventuality of a Bridgend BID. Traders/businesses involved give their valuable time, without personal gain, because they are passionate about Bridgend.

Any business in the town is welcome to join the steering group and if the BID is successful at ballot, anyone who pays the levy will be able to stand for the Board or become involved in one of the theme groups, which will take the lead on different areas of the BID’s work.

The directors would be elected by fellow businesses at each AGM. Director positions will be undertaken on a voluntary basis.

 

The BID levy is not transparent

Well before the ballot, a BID proposal will be published and circulated to all stakeholders, containing absolutely clear total rateable values being proposed. If a ballot is successful, a not-for-profit company, owned and funded by businesses, and others eligible to pay the BID levy, will be created. It will primarily be funded by a levy based on the total rateable value of a business unit.

Most BIDs have a levy set at between 1-2% of the total rateable value of a business unit – you can find out your rateable value here http://www.2010.voa.gov.uk/rli/en/basic/find

For example, if the levy rate was set at 1.5%, a business in a property with a total rateable value of 10,000 would pay £150 per annum.

A BID can only be formed after an open and democratic ballot process. Following a successful yes vote; is it then really fair for a minority of individuals, who also stand to benefit, to not contribute this small sum, but to instead get a free ride?

Once terms regarding the levy are set, they cannot be adjusted without a reballot of eligible businesses.

 

Charities are exempt from paying the BID levy

It is up to each BID steering group to decide what if any discounts should be awarded, after listening to the views of its stakeholders (the BID’s traders/businesses). In 2014, of the 125 BIDs that responded to a survey, 62% of BIDs gave no discounts to charities, whilst 38% gave discounts ranging from 25% to 100%.

The general trend is away from giving retail focused charitable premises discounts on their levy.

 

BIDs across the country are being voted against

This is a democratic process, with the stakeholders in each area being able to decide what they believed to be best for their area.

In reality the net number of BIDs continue to grow each year. There are now well over 200 BIDs in the UK and 84% of ballots result in a yes vote. Support for BIDs is shown to grow at renewal ballot, once they have demonstrated what they have achieved with targeted, business led activity.

 

Many BIDs are marred by corruption, secrecy

Maintaining standards of transparency and governance are of utmost importance to the Bridgend BID steering group. We will commit to making accounts, minutes and other key documents public and will place these on the BID website.

The Bridgend BID steering group, for example, publishes, meeting dates, the minutes of all meetings, names of those present on its website and contact details; all businesses/traders in Bridgend town centre are welcome to attend meetings and join the steering group.

If successful at ballot, the BID would look to achieve accredited status, through British BIDs, the industry body. Suitable for newly developed and operating BIDs, it provides evidence of quality management and returns on investment through service delivery. It has become the industry recognised standard. This would include an independent Audit and assessment by a Board made up of industry experts, and is reassessed every 3 years.

 

BID companies very rarely promote the businesses paying into the BID, only the town centre

The BID company will be accountable to its member businesses (those that pay the BID levy) and its sole purpose is to improve the fortunes of those members. It aims to tackle problems affecting all businesses within the area, for example footfall and accessibility, so that you can focus your attention on your own business.

A core aim of the BID, if created, will be to change perceptions and to attract more visitors to the town centre. Is that such a bad thing?

McArthur Glen, Westfield, Bicester Village, are names in their own right that millions of visitors a year and get attracted to before they even know which specific businesses/shops will be found. We will develop a positive, clear and coherent image for the town centre with the aim of attracting more visitors and businesses/investors. It is then up to us all, to provide visitors to our premises with a friendly and welcoming experience – promoting both the town centre and our individual trades/businesses.

 

BID companies collect a mandatory levy, normally between 1-5 % (other quotes suggest usually between 3 to 5 %)

A BID can only be formed after an open and democratic ballot process. Following a successful yes vote; is it then really fair for a minority of individuals, who also stand to benefit, to not contribute this small sum, but to instead get a free ride?

The average BID levy figure is 1.4% of rateable value. In Bridgend this has been set to 1.25%. The table below sets out the indicative levy payable for businesses depending on their total rateable value at a rate of 1.25%.

Total rateable value (£)                       Indicative BID levy at 1.25% (£)

                6,000                                                                  75

                10,000                                                               125

                50,000                                                               625

                100,000                                                             1,250

                500,000                                                             6,250

Bridgend will have a levy threshold of £6000; this means that any businesses within the BID area that have a total rateable value of less than £6000, will not be eligible to pay the levy or entitled to receive it’s benefits.
In an ideal world there would be no threshold value. However, with zero, or too low a threshold, the Bridgend BID steering group decided that the cost of collection would become uneconomically sound. A BID needs to be based on a strong and viable economic foundation. Other options such a variable levys and capping were also considered and ruled out.
With a YES vote, all businesses within the  subsequently established BID area that were not eligible to vote, can choose to make voluntarily contributing towards the BID to gain full BID entitlements and benefits.

 

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