Last edited 30 Dec 2020

Business improvement district

A Business Improvement District is an area in which a levy is charged on business rate payers in addition to normal business rates to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the area. They are a form of business-led partnership intended to allow the business community and local authorities to work together to improve the local trading environment.

They can be set up by the local authority, a business rate payer or a person or company whose purpose is to develop the Business Improvement District area, or that has an interest in the land in the area.

The Business Improvement District proposer submits a proposal and business plan to the local authority, setting out:

Local authorities can veto the proposals if they are likely to conflict with an existing policy, place a financial burden on rate payers or the burden from the levy is unjust.

Businesses that will be subject to the levy then vote to determine whether the scheme goes ahead, with each business entitled to vote in respect of each property occupied or owned by them.

A Business Improvement District body manages the Business Improvement District, generally a private company or a partnership with the local authority. The local authority manages billing and the collection of the levy.

The maximum period that a Business Improvement District levy can be charged is for 5 years after which a new ballot must be held.

As part of the high streets announcement, the government made a commitment for a review of Business Improvement Districts to see what further powers could be made available to help them shape the future of town centres.

In March 2015, the Department for Communities and Local Government launched a consultation for strengthening the role of Business Improvement Districts including:

The consultation closed on 19 June 2015.

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