Frequently asked questions
WHAT IS A BID?
A Business improvement District is a way for businesses in a defined area to decide what they need to help their business to thrive. A Business Plan has been written that includes these suggestions and you have had the chance to vote for the plan. There was a majority in favour for the plan to go ahead.
WHO IS BEHIND THIS SCHEME?
The Minehead Chamber of Commerce (MCC), leads the BID process. It is chaired by Graham Sizer, Vice Chairman of MCC and supported by Destination Management & Marketing. Following a successful BID vote, control will be passed to a dedicated and completely separate company run by the businesses within the BID area. This company will be a not –for- profit, Company Limited by Guarantee.
HOW WILL THE BID BE MANAGED?
The BID process has been lead by Minehead chamber of Commerce in conjunction with West Somerset Council. Following a successful BID ballot a new formal BID company will be set up to implement and deliver the BID proposals.
The managing Board of this company will be made up of members of the participating businesses, and as with any Board, these will be appointed or elected based on their skills and the contribution they can make to the company and the development of Minehead.
Minehead Chamber of Commerce set up a Steering Group to take the BID work forward. Following the BID vote this group will no longer be active but will be replaced by the BID company Board of Directors.
HOW WILL THE EXTRA SERVICES BE FUNDED?
Therefore if your business’ rateable value is £20,000 then you would pay an extra £300 per year. All this money will be ring-fenced to deliver the business plan, it will be used to encourage more funding to match it so the pot of money grows. Only businesses in Minehead with a rateable value in excess of £3,000 will be included in the scheme.
HOW LONG WILL IT LAST?
2018 to 2023.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER 5 YEARS?
After 5 years the current scheme will end. The scheme can be extended or renewed for another 5 years. The same processes of consultation, and ballot have to be undertaken to secure a further 5year term. The renewal BID may contain the same elements or it may be a completely different Business Plan to reflect new priorities at the time.
DO BIDS EXIST ELSEWHERE IN THE UK?
BIDs are a national success story with nearly 300 BID schemes in the UK. Evidence has shown that they work, with nearly every second term ballot resulting in higher numbers of businesses voting ‘YES’. They have led to increased footfall, reduced overheads, safer and more vibrant towns and cities with higher spending levels.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IT WORKS?
Over 250 BID schemes have gone to ballot, the majority have voted in favour and the positive benefits are very obvious. Businesses in those areas have the chance to influence how their towns are managed and to make the changes necessary to survive. Of all the BIDS that have gone to ballot for a 2nd term +90% have been approved for a 2nd term by an increased majority. Many are now going forward to secure a 3rd term.
WHO PAYS, AND WHO COLLECTS THE MONEY?
The BID levy is charged to occupants of business premises with a rateable value of £3,000 or more and will be collected by Taunton Deane Borough Council (on behalf of West Somerset Council), and then placed into a ring-fenced account (a BID Revenue Account) and passed on to the Minehead BID Company.
ISN’T THIS WHAT I PAY MY BUSINESS RATES FOR?
No. Business Rates are a national tax that is collected by Local Councils on behalf of central government and then redistributed according to a national formula. The Council’s income from this redistribution is spent throughout the area on statutory and discretionary services for residents and businesses. Businesses have very little say in the way the funds are spent.
The great benefit of a BID is that the projects it undertakes have been agreed by businesses, through a series of consultations. The money is retained locally, and spent locally, for the benefit of the local area. The BID levy is nothing to do with business rates. It is based on a levy on the rateable value of the business unit and the funds are invested within the BID area.
The funds collected through the BID levy will be kept in a separate BID bank account held by the BID Company but separate from non-BID money. The income from the levy and from voluntary or commercial contributions will be used to fund local activities and services, as decided by the businesses and included in the Business Plan.
WHAT SORT OF THINGS CAN BE INCLUDED?
That will be for you as businesses to decide. But in other places it includes better marketing, improved security, better signage and directions, better cleaning, taxi marshals, cost saving initiatives, promotions and events tailored to attract shoppers and visitors to the area.
SHOULDN’T THE COUNCIL PAY FOR ALL THAT?
The council will still be legally obliged to provide all the services that it does now and bring in any improvements they have scheduled. Anything done through the BID will be additional to what you get for Business Rates. Budgets for local councils have been cut dramatically and there will be no additional money to improve or support new ideas.
ARE BIDS JUST A WAY FOR COUNCILS TO SAVE MONEY?
Absolutely not. A BID scheme supports additional projects and services, provides new activities and does not replace statutory activities or services carried out by the Local Councils, County Council, Police and other public agencies. The BID Company has Baseline Agreements with the Councils to ensure that businesses are not short-changed in the future and to avoid any duplication of services.
The Council has pledged its support for the BID and will contribute financially to it because they have commercial properties in the BID area that will be liable for the BID levy. Businesses will continue to benefit from the services that the Councils and Police provide for the benefit of businesses and public such as cleaning, lighting, access and safety.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
It will cost a very small % of your rateable value in the case of Minehead BID this will be 1.5%. This is equivalent in many cases of just pennies per week, a book of stamps or a small ad in the local press. All this money is ring -fenced to deliver the business plan it is also used to encourage more funding to match it so the pot of money grows. Only business in Minehead with a rateable value of £3,000 and more will be included in the scheme.
WHY ARE BUSINESSES WITH A RATEABLE VALUE OF UNDER £3000 EXEMPT?
The cost of collecting the levy from smaller businesses outweighs the income generated from them. It also means that the number of businesses is reduced, meaning that we can communicate with eligible businesses more effectively. Businesses under the threshold do not get a vote. Exempt businesses can however opt in to make voluntary contributions of no less than 1.5% of their rateable value.
WHICH STREETS ARE WITHIN THE BID AREA?
The Minehead BID area contains over 250 business addresses on the following streets: Bancks Street, Blenheim Road (part), Friday Street, Holloway Street, Market House Lane, Park Street, Quay Street, Quay West (Car Park), Seaward Way, Summerland Place, Summerland Road, The Avenue, The Esplanade, The Parade, The Parks (East), Vulcan Road (part), Wellington Square, Warren Road
WHO GETS TO VOTE?
Every business in the area with a rateable value of £3,000 and above has one vote regardless of the size of the premises If you own or occupy more than one premises in the BID area, you will have a vote for each premises; you can cast a vote for each.
IF I DON’T VOTE, DO I STILL HAVE TO PAY?
Like any democratic process the majority of the businesses that vote determine the outcome of the scheme. Regardless of how you voted, YES, NO or abstained you will still be liable to pay the levy.
WILL THE BID DELIVER WHAT IT SAYS?
The BID Business plan is a legal document. Every year the BID Company is legally obliged to publish an audit of its delivery against the targets in the BID plan, all voters will have a right to see that audit and to hold the company to account.
IS THIS THE RIGHT TIME TO BE DEVELOPING A BID?
Actually this is a great time to develop a BID. In Minehead there is a great opportunity to work together and combine talents, assets and ideas with the BID scheme, Enterprising Minehead Fund, Minehead coastal community resources and the 2 councils, to really put Minehead on the map.
In addition town centres and the public purse are under pressure to change like never before. The increased use of online retail and mobile comparison apps means that businesses need to work together to counter the threats and maximise the benefits of driving down overheads such as insurance and utility costs.
A BID also makes your money go that much further with larger marketing budgets which can reach out and promote your business to more people both locally and further afield. BIDs offer great opportunities for economies of scale and BIDs provide much greater value for money than you have at present. A BID also offers businesses a unique opportunity to take control of the trading environment and to make their voices heard.
WILL MY MONEY BE SPENT LOCALLY?
The money does not go to the Government or the Council. The Council collects the levy funds on behalf of the BID Company. It hands those funds over the BID Company.
Funds will be held by the BID Company with a Board of Directors drawn from business representatives in the BID area. These funds are only to used for the projects agreed and voted for by the participating businesses, in line with the BID Business Plan. Each year you will be able to see a fully audited report and set of accounts that will set out clearly how the BID fund has been spent in the previous year.
HOW DO WE GET A BID?
An extensive consultation period took place to communicate with businesses in the BID area. Ideas, suggestions and priorities for taking Minehead forward were logged and the detailed business plan will be produced and published following this consultation.
Every eligible business (RV of £3000 or more) in the BID area will be sent a copy of the BID Plan. In Spring 2018 you will be sent a ballot paper giving you the opportunity to formally vote for (or against) in a formal ballot process. The vote has to be positive both by number and rateable value for Minehead BID to proceed.
If the ballot returns a positive result then Minehead BID Company will be formed. The official start of Minehead BID is expected to be June 2018.