A Business Improvement District (BID) is a local, democratically elected organisation that focuses on delivering specific improvements needed by local business in a defined area. BIDs invest in and deliver projects to improve the local trading environment, drive down business costs and raise the area profile. BIDs are led and controlled by business; they are independent, not-for-profit organisations with ring-fenced resources and finances.
The projects are funded by raising finance, principally, through a levy. The levy is an investment by businesses into a BID pot of money apportioned according to business needs. Businesses direct spend and are given a voice to shape the BID. We encourage our BID members to focus on their sector, street and overall vision to improve Newry City. The Newry BID levy has been set at 1.5% which is applied to the rateable value or NAV of the property.
A BID operates for five years. Throughout the term the BID is accountable to its levy-paying businesses and must demonstrate how it makes a difference. After five years a re-ballot must be held to enable the BID to continue.
In order for a BID to be established, a ballot of all eligible businesses in the BID area is held. Our local council was responsible for organising the BID ballot in Newry.
When a BID is declared, the levy will be mandatory for all liable businesses in the BID area regardless of whether they chose to vote yes, no or not at all. Legislation passed by Stormont in 2014 will ensure that all businesses are legally obliged to pay the levy.
BIDs offer businesses an opportunity to identify priorities and invest in projects and services that benefit them, their customers, clients, visitors and employees. The BID Company monitors results and performances.
There are over 180 BIDs in the UK with many expected to grow in the ROI. UK BIDs will bring in around £300 million over the next 5 years to help develop their areas. Northern Ireland has embraced the concept of a BID to develop major towns and cities. The Department of Social Development has supported the roll out of a BID pilot scheme for Newry, Strabane, Enniskillen, Belfast One, Cathedral Quarter Belfast and Ballymena. There are now 5 BIDs in Northern Ireland with several more areas considering the prospect of electing a BID over the next couple of years.