Much is happening this month and next, and this is an update on a range of issues that I feel are of interest to the BID community. Clearly this is a time for conferences, with our own in Cambridge on October 19, the ATCM Brexit conference in Birmingham, the Institute of Place management conference In Manchester earlier this month, the Big BID city conference also in Manchester, and the London First conference in early November.
As BIDs grow in number and type there will clearly be an increasing range of conferences and groups that respond to their different needs and we can all celebrate that. Bb will continue to focus on the specific needs of managing and running BIDs and our own conference will allow conversations and discussions on a whole range of BID topics. There is now a really interesting cross section of small action based research reports on topics as wide ranging as policing, waste disposal, baseline statements, and the like, which we are working on making available to BIDs across the country.
Devolved business rates
You may have already picked up that the Government is proceeding with plans to expand the “100% business rates retention pilots” and has encouraged councils to join forces and put forward joint proposals. Clearly many of us had hoped that the Queen’s speech would include the legislation for this but in this second phase of pilots, ministers want to explore how rates retention can operate ‘across more than one authority to promote financial sustainability and to support coherent decision-making across functional economic areas’.
Pilot local authorities will retain 100% of the growth in their business rates income in the year of the pilot (2018/19), meaning that the central government share (usually 50% of the growth) will stay in the local area. The pilot programme will not affect funding to other, non-pilot, local authorities. This will be a vital move in our discussions over business rates and devolution.
11th National BID Survey 2017
The National BID Survey will be launched at The National BIDs Conference in Cambridge on October 19th. As ever there is much of interest; a growth in the number of BIDs to 283, along with a further 26 developing BIDs, some of whom have received Department for Communities and Local Government Loan funding.
We have worked hard this year to make sure that data from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland are as fully integrated as possible into the survey, and the companion Scottish Survey for 2017 is an interesting read and available here
One question we asked was on the stalled 2015 review of the current BID legislation, and the really wide range of replies will be turned into a separate paper for the Department for Communities and Local Government which we will circulate as soon as we have completed the write up. If BIDs want to add more to the agenda do please email me.
We have an interesting group of Chairs coming to the breakfast meeting on October 19 at The National BIDs Conference, and we are looking at topics that include: how we can influence councils and metro mayors to hypothecate retained business rates, fundraising or levy neutral initiatives, gender and ethnicity issues on board membership, levy collection costs, and Corporation tax. Some Chairs are not able to join us for the full conference because of pressures of their own businesses, and so we have brought in a discounted rate for those who just want to attend the breakfast. Do please email me if you want more information.
Ballots taking place
The summer is always a slow time for Business Improvement District ballots; and so we congratulate Lerwick who were successful and note that Clifton Village BID is in the thoes of its ballot, and we shall update you on their result.
British BIDs is pleased that membership still grows and we welcome Dorking Town Partnership and London Borough of Sutton as new members.
Forthcoming Events & Courses
Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs