What is a BID?
The BID concept originated in Canada in 1970, spreading through that Continent before arriving in the UK in 2004. The Scottish Government, recognising the benefits, have been strong supporters and there are now 28 operational BIDs as at October 2015.
A Business Improvement District (BID) is a local, business-led, initiative with a precisely-defined geographical town boundary. Businesses within the area are invited to come together to take decisions on how to improve their trading environment. In a BID district, businesses have voted to collectively invest in local improvements in addition to those delivered by statutory authorities. They are often, although not exclusively, a partnership arrangement through which the local business community and statutory authorities can take forward projects, which will benefit the local economy.
A BID is not a substitute for central or local government expenditure, but an additional investment guided by businesses to strengthen the local economy. BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by, principally, the private sector by means of a compulsory 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.
The Kirkwall Business Improvement District is an exciting concept that gives the town centre businesses a unique opportunity to directly influence developments that will bring new life and energy to the area over the next few years and beyond.