FAQs

WHAT IS A BID?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a defined geographical area within which local businesses work together to invest collectively in additional projects and services, prioritised by businesses, to address problems and opportunities that affect their business, staff and clients. The BID does not replace existing Local Authority services and baselines are in place.

WHY DO WE NEED A BID?

  • Retail BID is a business led, non-profit organisation working on behalf of its members
  • To promote Birmingham city centre as a fantastic shopping destination
  • To provide additionally to Local Authority statutory services
  • To challenge and lobby when the the Local Authority are cutting back
  • To identify and attract additional funding and resources to the city centre
  • To deal with local issues and highlight opportunities for member businesses
  • To support and promote member businesses individually and collectively

WHO PAYS THE BID LEVY AND HOW IS IT CALCULATED?

Members of the Retail BID pay the levy and it is based on the principle of a 1% levy applied equally to rateable values of all defined businesses; it is fair, transparent and avoids ‘freeloading’ by others. The levy is mandatory and is treated in the same way as Business Rates, becoming a statutory requirement.

With public finances stretched, Retail BID can help all its members prosper.

  • Everyone contributes the same percentage of their rateable value towards the levy
  • Everyone can have a say on how this money is spent
  • Everyone benefits from the work of the BID

Each contribution goes towards a much larger budget, attracting voluntary contributions from property owners and as a business, there is value in like-minded city centre businesses working together for the benefit of the area and the business environment.

ISN’T THIS ANOTHER TAX ON BUSINESS?

The BID levy is collected by Birmingham City Council and passed in its entirety to the Retail BID for investment in key projects and services to benefit members and the retail area in Birmingham city centre. The budget is controlled by the Retail BID board (see Managed section below).

WILL ADDITIONAL FUNDING BE AVAILABLE?

The BID attracts voluntary contributions. Resources and match-funding opportunities will be identified to increase resources and allow Retail BID to continue its investment in city centre projects and events.

WHO ARE THE KEY PARTNERS IN THE BID?

The BID is being actively supported by key partners, including:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • West Midlands Police
  • Property owners
  • Shopping centre owners

DOESN’T THE BID JUST REPLACE EXISTING SERVICES?

Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police continue to provide services within the city centre. As key partners and supporters of the Retail BID, they endeavour to deliver these baseline services – 100% of the BID levy contributions are invested in additional projects and services which are set out, in advance, in the Retail BID Proposal. These are the result of consultations with local businesses.

With public spending seeing considerable reductions, Retail BID is here to help ensure that the baseline services currently provided are not eroded to the detriment of the city centre, while also investing in additional projects and services of benefit to members.

HOW IS THE BID MANAGED?

Retail BID is operated by the BID Company, Retail Birmingham Limited, with a Board of Directors accountable to BID levy payers.

The Board, led by a private sector chair, consists of 15 Directors comprising a majority of representatives from the retail business community and key stakeholder organisations including shopping centres, department stores, national stores, independents and partner organisations such as Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police. The Board meet on a quarterly basis.

BID programmes and budgets are considered and approved by the Board.

More details about the current board members can be seen here

The Retail BID Executive Team is delegated by the Board to oversee day to day operations and delivery of the work.

The Retail BID team can be seen here

HOW IS THE BID FINANCED?

Principal funding comes from the annual BID levy which is applied to all business rate payers in the area. As for BID1, the BID2 and BID3 the levy is set at a flat 1%. This ensures that all businesses contribute the same amount relative to their rateable value.

In all cases:

  • The levy is applied to those businesses that significantly trade or interface with their customers within the BID area, meaning businesses that do not rely on visits by members of the public for their business are exempt
  • Business premises with rateable values below £10,000 are exempt from the BID levy
  • No relief is proposed for vacant premises
  • The levy is discounted for charitable organisations at the same level as their mandatory rate relief

No subsequent adjustments will be made to levy charges during the financial year. Changes in values will be reflected in a corresponding change to the levy collected from the appropriate properties in the following financial year.

Where a property is taken out of the Rating List, the BID levy will apply up to the day before the effective date of removal and the annual BID levy will be apportioned accordingly. Where a new assessment is brought into the Rating List, the BID levy will apply from the effective date as shown in the Rating List. The annual levy will be apportioned on a daily basis. The BID levy will be increased each year by the annual inflationary factor for Local Non-domestic Rate bills as calculated by the Government. Where at the time of ballot there is no occupational lease, the liability will fall to the property owner until a new lease is confirmed. The property owner will be entitled to vote in the BID ballot.

DO BUSINESSES WITHIN SHOPPING CENTRES PAY THE BID LEVY?

Businesses within the shopping centres of Bullring, The Mailbox, Grand Central each pay an annual service charge to their specific centre. Therefore, the BID does not charge a levy in these centres and occupiers are exempt from the BID ballot and levy. All three centres make a considerable voluntary contribution to the annual Retail BID budget which reflects the number of business within their centres. The contributions are committed for the entire BID term of five years.

The BID work in partnership with them to ensure that projects and services complement those undertaken on behalf of the occupiers by the centres management.

WHAT IS THE RETAIL BIRMINGHAM BID AREA?

The BID focuses on the leisure and retail core of the city centre.

  • Bennetts Hill (South)
  • Brunel Street
  • Bull Street (West-Side)
  • Burlington Arcade
  • Cannon Street
  • Carrs Lane
  • Cherry Street
  • City Plaza
  • Colmore Row (Northeast Only)
  • Corporation Street (To Bull St)
  • The Cube
  • Edgbaston Street
  • Ethel Street
  • Fore Street
  • Gloucester Street
  • Great Western Arcade
  • High Street
  • Hill Street (To Station St)
  • John Bright Street
  • Lower Temple Street
  • Martineau Place
  • Martineau Way
  • Moor Street Station
  • Navigation Street
  • Needless Alley
  • New Street
  • New Street Station Forecourt
  • North Western Arcade
  • Paradise Circus Queensway (Paradise St)
  • Paradise Street
  • Piccadilly Arcade
  • Pinfold Street
  • St Martins Lane
  • St Phillips Place
  • Stephenson Place
  • Stephenson Street
  • Suffolk Street Queensway (East-Side)
  • Temple Row
  • Temple Street
  • Union Passage
  • Union Street
  • Victoria Square
  • Waterloo Street (South-Side)

bid_map

HOW IS THE LEVY COLLECTED?

The BID levy is invoiced annually to all liable businesses commencing 1st April 2017 until 31st March 2022. The levy will continue to be collected by Birmingham City Council and passed to the BID Company, under the terms of a formal Operating Agreement.

CAN THERE BE ALTERATIONS TO BID ARRANGEMENTS?

The BID area and BID levy (other than inflationary increases) can only be altered via an Alteration Ballot or when a Renewal Ballot is held

BID projects, costs and timescales can be altered subject to approval by the Board providing they fall within the resources available

WHO DOES THE FINANCIAL MONITORING?

The Retail BID monitors expenditure and cash flow monthly and management accounts are formally considered by the Board quarterly.

Annual accounts are subject to independent audit.