April's Insight from Chris Turner


The month continues to be focussed on COVID-19, business survival and BID survival, whilst we are surrounded by personal stories of great tragedy, huge courage and enormous gratitude to those people who are keeping us healthy, alive and fed.

Some BIDs have come through ballots successfully, and we congratulate West Bromwich, Westside in Birmingham, and Byres Road and The Lanes in Glasgow on their ballot successes.

We were concerned last month about ballots for those BIDs whose terms were coming to an end during this COVID-19 crisis, and a letter from us to the minister, and a multitude of letters from BIDs and their MPs, ensured that section 79 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 extended until March 2021 the terms of those BIDs in England which were coming up for renewal before Christmas. This gives a brief breathing space for fourteen BIDs in England and Northern Ireland and allows them to collect their levies for a further few months until March 2021.

We also asked for Government support for BIDs whose levies are not being paid, because businesses are not able or willing to pay. This is currently a mess, with no clear answer from Government, despite a large number of letters from BIDs and their MPs. As you know we sent out a survey questionnaire from the three BID organisations, which came together to work on this. The outcomes were pretty clear: just over a third of BIDs in England (34%) expect to collect somewhere between 0% and 25% of their levy for this year and 56% of BIDs do not expect to last longer than 12 weeks with some considering winding up within the next month. We are still very much hoping that some form of resilience fund for BIDs will be made available by the Ministry but have yet to hear.

We do know, from the many we are helping by way of phone calls and our Q&A sessions, that many and perhaps most BIDs are furloughing staff, working with their Boards on emergency cash flow plans and having to reduce services. However, we also know that many are planning for the revival, keeping safety and security strongly supported and working closely on new services to their members. One BID reported that they have been busier than they were in a ballot, many are working with their local NHS on supporting staff and services.

Our broad steer is that local authorities have to send out levy bills under the regulations, and that this can neither be deferred or ameliorated by a BID, which needs its money to deliver services. The operating agreement is a legal document that has to be adhered to. Bb has produced Financial Advice for BIDs updated for COVID-19 which is available here. On the other hand, some local authorities are picking up the tab themselves and not sending out bills, others are continuing to pass down to BIDs their normal phased amounts, or are refusing to collect or chase, or not sending anything out because they are home working and can’t print or are indeed having cashflow problems themselves and not able to help. So, it is a very muddled picture at the moment.


Most BIDs are continuing to provide key data and services to their members, not least footfall and safety reporting. Some BIDs are working with their local police forces to report footfall and social distancing. Others are making use of the very useful Office for National Statistics weekly data sets on footfall, business and mobility to keep their Boards and members updated.

The business data suggests around 40% of all businesses were confident they could continue operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, compared with 15% who were not confident and 44% who did not know. Among hotels and restaurants, only 17% were confident they would be operating for the duration of the outbreak. Interestingly, the two sectors that reported unaffected turnover in this period were professional, scientific and technical activities, and information and communication services, and this will give us some steer on levy payments. The full data is here for last week. Some businesses are operating successfully and have made clear that they most certainly will be paying their levy bills.

On footfall the very useful Google mobility data here allows us to see how both the country and each local authority is performing. The reports show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline, using the same kind of aggregated and anonymised data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps. When compared to one's own footfall data it is interesting.

Clearly, towns and cities are varying enormously in the impact of the levels of Government support. The two major funding streams – for properties with RV below 15k and 51k have strikingly different regional impacts.  Cities in the North and Midlands have the highest shares of properties that fall below the £12,000 threshold. In Burnley, Blackburn and Blackpool, more than four in five of the properties that have their rateable values available are exempted. Meanwhile in Slough, Oxford and Cambridge it is two in five. But the geography looks very different for the properties affected by the rates holiday announcements. It is businesses in cities in the Greater South East that are overwhelmingly likely to benefit from the pause in business rates. In Oxford, Centre for Cities estimates show that around 26 per cent of properties qualify, followed by 20 per cent in London and 19 per cent in Cambridge. York is the only city in the top 10 that isn’t in the South – 18 per cent of properties will be exempt. Again, many BIDs are doing these calculations themselves and reporting back to their boards as it may impact their future planning. More details are here from the Centre for Cities.

And of course, whilst we are operating at a grim time, both financially and emotionally, others are looking to alternatives. In February Insight I mentioned the Building Better, Building Beautiful commission and this has been picked up in a great article that very much looks to the future.


At Bb we continue with our Certificate in BID Management, a whole range of new Q&A sessions, a new Podcast service, and a new series of online short Bite-Sized learning sessions on key BID issues. For further information do please email me or Drew on chris.turner@britishbids.info or drew.turner@britshbids.info

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs


Latest Articles

Local lockdowns and areas of interventions: how to prepare

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs' response on levy payments

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs supports Business Resilience Survey

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Get involved in our response to Government

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Preparing for localised lockdown webinar follow up

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Look back on lockdown - BIDs (part 2)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

July's insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Webinar with high street expert Bill Grimsey

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Ruth Duston joins British BIDs Advisory Board

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Towns Fund – updated guidance

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Look back on lockdown - BIDs

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

June's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

From BBC news, to virtual meetings & training, we reflect on the past 3 months

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BBC News Channel - Professor Christopher Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Industrial and Business Park BIDs share good practice with virtual networking sessions

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

New research on BIDs and the 'new normal'

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Important announcement: MHCLG BID Loan Fund

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Ed Cooke joins British BIDs Advisory Board

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #9 (W/C 18TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #8 (W/C 11TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

3R Toolkit; Driving recovery in your place

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #7 (W/C 4TH MAY)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BIDs Advisory Board welcome Resilience Fund

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #6 (W/C 27TH APRIL)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs announces new research into the recovery of BIDs and urban centres in the ‘new normal’

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs Announces BIDs Resilience Fund

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Government lobbying for BID levy relief during COVID-19

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

THAT WAS THE BB WEEK THAT WAS #5 (W/C 20TH APRIL)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

New measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs expands Ballot Buddy portfolio

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Sidcup BID achieve British BIDs Accreditation

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Government Survey - your help needed by 22nd April

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

That Was The Bb Week That Was #4 (W/C 13th april)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

COVID-19 - Job Retention Scheme Update

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

That Was The Bb Week That Was #3 (W/C 6th April)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

That Was The Bb Week That Was #2 (W/C 30th March)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs' Ballot Buddy helps secure a 'yes' vote for West Bromwich BID

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and what it means for BIDs

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

That Was The Bb Week That Was #1 (w/c 23rd March)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID levy payments and COVID-19

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

New Q&A sessions announced

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Communications support for BIDs

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs Guidance - Q&A

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Business Improvement Districts and their Coronavirus Response

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

March's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Join our live Q&A session this Friday

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

COVID-19: An update for Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs' response to the Chancellor's Budget

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs launches new Advisory Board

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Sunak urged to reform rates that ‘hammer’ local retailers

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

February's Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs partners with Welsh Government

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Business Rates - a representation to the Chancellor for the 2020 Budget

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

New year, new Christmas

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

January's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Celebrate our 10th birthday with us

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs support Plymouth City Centre BID at renewal campaign launch

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

December's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

November's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Digital Lego Trail successful boost to the City Centre

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Can your BID assist school/college leavers in their area to obtain employment locally?

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

October's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

September's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

August's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

July's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

June's Insight from Professor Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs appointed to support West Bromwich BID for renewal ballot

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs appointed to support Sheffield BID with 2020 renewal ballot

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

May's Insight from Professor Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

April's Insight from Professor Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Debenhams Administration - Guidance for BIDs

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

March's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID Loan Fund Workshops with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee - New Policy Issues

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Celebrating 25 Years in Christmas Lighting - Gala Lights

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

February's BID Insight from Chris Turner

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

InLinkUK - New to our Suppliers Portal

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - JANUARY

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - DECEMBER

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Thank you to our British BIDs members

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - NOVEMBER

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Autumn Budget 2018: Highlights for the BID industry

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - OCTOBER

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government BID Loan Fund

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

British BIDs appointed to support South Bank BID with 2019 renewal ballot

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Faster broadband underpins UK BIDs - Openreach

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

National BIDs Conference by Ben Collins

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - SEPTEMBER

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Is slow broadband hindering your business and do you want to do something about it?

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - AUGUST

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Do Your BID’s Lights Need A Refresh?

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - JULY

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Applications for the 2018 Great British High Streets Awards are now open!

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Launch of the Second Grimsey review

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Launch of the Great British High Street Awards 2018

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - JUNE

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BID INSIGHT FROM CHRIS TURNER - MAY

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT INDUSTRY CELEBRATES 300 BIDS

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020

Check out our photos from the Professional Development Day

POSTED ON: 17/04/2020