January's BID Insight from Chris Turner


It is already clear that 2020 is going to be an important year for the BID community.  A new Government with a commitment to the High Street is hopefully going to make a difference, both locally and nationally.

Firstly, Business Rates. The Prime Minister committed his government to “cut the burden of tax on business by reducing business rates. This will be done via a fundamental review of the system.

As a first step, we will further reduce business rates for retail businesses, as well as extending the discount to grassroots music venues, small cinemas and pubs”. This is of course welcoming news, particularly for our food and beverage levy payers, but the current discount is time limited, and doesn’t help long term planning. So, we look forward to the fundamental review being announced, and Bb will continue to press the government on this, along the lines of our response to the House of Commons select committee, available on our website here.

Secondly, the Chancellor is planning his 2020 budget, and has asked for representations. This is a written representation from an interest group, individual or representative body to HM Treasury with the aim of commenting on government policy and suggesting new policy ideas for inclusion.. We at Bb intend to use the representation process to argue for business rate reform. Any individual BID can of course use this process, and it would be an excellent strategy for as many BIDs as possible to use this route. The Budget 2020 representations portal is now open and HM Treasury is accepting representations until 7th February 2020.  

A further item of key government policy is the issue of commercial vacancies. The Government is now seeking views on whether an online register of commercial properties would make it easier to bring empty shops back into use. Government wants to understand people’s experiences of leasing commercial property – with a view to making ownership of high street properties more transparent, making it easier for businesses and community groups to find space and supporting investment in local areas. The link to the survey can be found here. One key part of the commercial property database that we all in the BID community need is the knowledge of property ownership amongst our levy payers. Whether it is trying to get property owners onto Boards, permissions for Christmas lights and the like or just developing strategic projects, it can be a vital issue. One answer is Nimbus® Maps. This is a simple, free website for finding property ownership. It provides complimentary access to 3.78m free Land Registry records released every month. It works well and is an excellent starting starting point.   The first 14 of the Future High Streets Fund areas were announced by Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick a week or so ago. The full details are available here.

There are a handful of BID areas in this announcement. The total Towns Fund, including the £1 billion High Streets Fund to help High Streets adapt and evolve while remain vibrant places for their community, now amounts to £3.6 billion. This sort of money should make a difference if used wisely and strategically.   Many of you will have seen the BBC Panorama film on ‘How to save the UK's crisis-hit High Streets’. The link is here and is a pretty decent resume of where we are and where we need to go. 

British BIDs has now been leading the BID industry for a decade, and has used its 10th birthday to refresh its vision, values and brand. We are introducing a new Diploma in BID leadership, along with new services covering Recruitment, Human Resources, and Finance. For further information do please contact drew@britishbids.info

The media coverage of the anniversary and the impact of BIDs has been really stirring; the material in the Times can be seen here. The headline story – 128 thousand businesses investing over £125 million each year into their communities is a powerful one, and one that is growing, with over 50 being developed at the moment. British BIDs is proud to be at the centre of it with trusted, reliable expert advice. 

There have been no ballots over Christmas and the New Year, and the first result we look forward to will be the developing Moray Tourism BID. 

Our next major event will be BIDs IN 2020; Managing Place on 26th February in Manchester alongside CityCo (The City Centre Management Company) & Manchester BID. It is a free for British BID members and will include a series of workshops from leading and experienced practitioners on Rough Sleeping, Protests, Terrorism and Comms Strategies. For further information do please contact drew@britshbids.info

Professor Christopher Turner, Chief Executive, British BIDs


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