What is a BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) provides a legislative framework for businesses and organisations within a defined area to come together and invest in their local area in agreed projects and initiatives.

BIDs originated in Toronto in the early 1970s and following their introduction to the UK in 2004, around 270 have been created through ballots of the potential levy payers.

BIDs CAN perform any task that assists levy payers' commercial operations - the main restriction is that it CANNOT be used to deliver any service that should be provided by a public service (the local authority or police, for example).

BID development is led by the private sector and at its heart is the widespread consultation of all businesses and organisations who would pay a levy into its funds.

During the consultation periods it becomes clear what businesses and organisations wish to see - and would be prepared to fund. The priorities are drawn together into a business plan and this is put to the businesses in a ballot to determine whether it is sufficiently supported.

The BID is approved at ballot when two criteria are met:

More than 50% of the number of votes cast must be in favour;

More than 50% of the total rateable value (of those properties that voted) is in favour.

When the ballot is approved then legally every business has to pay the agreed levy.

Any investment generated is controlled by a Board chosen from the local businesses and must be spent on delivering the projects identified within the business plan.

Successful BIDs can:

  • Improve the trading conditions for businesses
  • Improve the physical surroundings
  • Increase the competitiveness of the local area
  • Increase safety and welcome in the local area
  • Generate increased footfall and visitor spend 
  • Reduce the operating costs for businesses

Get full information about BIDs from:

British BIDs website

Government website

ATCM website


How is a BID implemented?

A BID can only be implemented once the formal independently run ballot has been completed.

Bristol City Centre BID goes to the vote from 7th June 2017 to 5th July 2017.

Remember - The BID ballot is only successful when two criteria are met:

  more than 50% of the number of votes cast must be in favour

a second count is then made

the votes in favour must represent more than 50% of the total rateable value (of those properties that voted)

If the ballot is approved then, legally, every business has to pay at the agreed rate.


What are the benefits of a BID?


  • gives businesses a local voice and the power to improve their local area;
  • provides sustainable funding for an agreed period of time, enabling businesses to work with partners to deliver a variety of projects aimed at improving their business environment;
  • is managed by a Management Board made up of levy payers;
  • is fair, clear and transparent;
  • builds partnerships between the public and private sectors;
  • can leverage additional investment into the area.


How is a BID funded?

A BID is funded by the local businesses within the BID area. Qualifying businesses will pay a levy (1.5% for this BID) based on the rateable value of the business.

The investment levy is paid into a special BID account managed by the BID partnership. Funds are ring fenced and used to fund the BID business plan on which the investors were balloted. 

For info about the proposed Bristol City Centre BID go to City Centre BID section or contact Keith Rundle with any questions.