Q: How does a BID happen?
A: A BID can only be formed following consultation and a ballot in which businesses vote on a BID Proposal or business plan for the area. The ballot is run by the local authority or outsourced by the local authority to a third party. All businesses eligible to pay the levy are balloted. For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts: straight majority and majority of rateable value. This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected. There is no minimum turnout threshold.
Q: When does the BID start?
A: Last day for ballot will be 27th June 2019, with the BID commencing on 1st October 2019.
Q: How long does the BID last
A: The maximum BID period, for which the levy is charged, is 5 years. Once the 5 year term is completed the BID will automatically cease. However, if the BID company wants to continue its activities it must hold a new ballot.
Q: What is a hereditament?
A: The term, hereditament, is used in UK local taxation to refer to rateable units of a property. Parts of a building can be separate hereditaments and would be rated as separately.
Q: How do we pay for all the great business ideas?
A: The BID levy is collected by the council and will go into a pot. It brings additional services to the businesses within the BID area not, replacement services that the council supplies. The levy rate to be paid by each property or hereditament is to be calculated as 1.72% of its rateable value as at the ‘chargeable day’ (notionally 1st October each year). Only businesses with a rateable value over the agreed threshold or £4,999, or more will be eligible for payment of the levy. The number of properties or hereditaments liable for the levy is circa 378. From 2019 onwards, the levy rate will be increased by the fixed rate of inflation of 2% per annum. The levy will be charged annually in advance for each chargeable period (October to September each year). The BID can also draw on other public and private funding.
For example, if your business has a rateable value of say £15,000 and the levy percentage was 1.5% then the charge per year to your business would be only £225.
BIDs are also very good at attracting additional income to supplement income from the levy. Crawley BID would actively seek extra income to provide the best possible value for levy payers. BIDs can apply for other funding or grants for specific projects or delivery streams, and can take on contracts like any company. For example a number of BIDs, take on the contract from the local authority to provide christmas lights and decorations for the BID area so they can better tailor provision to the views of local businesses.
A number of BIDs around the country are also in receipt of in-kind support from local businesses and organisations to cut the administration costs of the BID meaning more money can be spent on delivering the front line services. Examples include free office space or venues; staff support from secondments, staff volunteers; marketing, design and events support; advertising value; free accounting and legal support. Crawley BID would actively seek this support to ensure the greatest value for levy payers.
Q: Has this worked elsewhere?
A: Yes. There are over 300 BIDs in the UK and this number is growing. Many of these BIDs have been in existence for a number of years. The first BID in the UK was Kingston, Surrey, in 2005. Nearby BIDs to Crawley include: Worchester, Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford Upon Avon, along with many in Birmingham.
Q: How would a BID work in Crawley?
A: The Crawley BID will action its business plan to provide a sustainable future for the town centre, led by businesses within the BID zone. There will be a controlling body formed, which will be made up of different business types from Crawley town centre. This could include independent business owners, retailers, major companies, banks, solicitors and indeed any business that operates within an area of town that we see the BID area being formed in.
Q: Isn’t this what I pay my business rates for:
A: No. Business rates are collected by Crawley Borough Council and redistributed at a national level. The council spends the allocated funding on services that are both statutory and discretionary, and businesses have very little say on what these services are. BIDs differ from this as the money is collected locally, ring-fenced and controlled and managed by the BID company. It can only then be spent on initiatives detailed in this business plan that you have agreed to. The BID levy does not pay for anything covered by your business rates.
Q: Can businesses and organisations who don’t pay the levy also contribute?
A: Yes. Businesses and organisations who have an interest in our town centre business environment but don’t pay the BID levy, as they are either under the threshold to pay or are outside the BID boundary, can become a ‘Friend of the BID’ and make a voluntary or in-kind contribution. These contributions can be to help fund all the delivery streams of the BID, or specific projects and services.
Q: Who runs the BID?
A: A BID company will be formed, which is a wholly, non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. The BID will have a board of directors and a BID manager. The BID manager will liaise with the business within the BID area to ascertain the wants and needs the business community.
Q: Why should I vote YES?
A: Voting YES to a BID in Crawley will mean that you can expect a better marketed, maintained and managed city; the businesses will be contributing almost £1.6 million to the BID Company that will work to improve Crawley over the next five years. The BID will only go ahead if it receives more yes votes than no votes, by number and rateable value.
Q: Who are we?
A: We are a BID steering group primarily formed of members from the Crawley Town Centre Partnership Community Interest Company (CIC). We are however looking for additional members for our steering group across all sectors so if you would like to be involved please do contact us.
We are dedicated to ensuring our town centre prospers by providing high quality services that businesses want, and by building a vision for our marvellous town centre that customers and businesses alike can embrace.
We do hope you will support Our BID. We look forward to working with you.