What is the Business Improvement District?
The Business Improvement District is an area of the town centre
where non-domestic ratepayers are required to pay a financial
levy which is used to provide services of benefit to businesses in
The latest Business Improvement District was established through
a ballot of business that would be liable to pay the levy conducted
on 17 October 2014 and is binding on ratepayers in the BID area
until March 2015. By law a renewal ballot must be held if the
provider of the BID services wishes to propose the continuation of
the Business Improvement District after March 2015.
Details of the geographical area of the BID can be found in the
BedfordBID Company BID Proposal available from the company’s
website or contact BedfordBID Company for a copy.
What is the Council’s role in the BID?
The Council is by law the billing authority for any business
improvement district in its area which means it is responsible for
the collection of BID levies. The Council is not be responsible for
providing the BID services because there is a non-local
authority BID body for the Bedford BID.
What is the BedfordBID Company Ltd?
The BedfordBID Company Ltd is a non-local authority BID Body and
is responsible for providing the business improvement district
services for the Bedford town centre BID. The Company was appointed
as the BID Body through the ballot process.
What does a business get in return for paying a BID
The BedfordBID Company is responsible for providing the BID
services. Information about the services that will be provided can
be obtained from BedfordBID Company Ltd, 1 Lurke Street, Bedford
MK40 3TN or by email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
A summary of the services concerned is set out in BedfordBID’s BID
Renewal Proposal document.
Aren’t these services provided by the Council?
The services provided under a Business Improvement District are
additional services not provided by the Council or enhancements to
What is the Business Improvement District (BID) Levy?
The BID levy is an annual charge that is payable in respect of
most non-domestic properties in the Business Improvement District
area of the town centre .
Who has to pay the BID Levy?
The person or organisation liable to pay the non-domestic rates
for the property is liable to pay the BID levy. Where a property is
occupied this is the occupier, for empty properties the person or
organisation entitled to occupy the property is liable to pay. This
will normally be the leaseholder or the owner.
Does the Council and other public sector bodies pay the BID
Yes. The Council and other public bodies must pay the levy on
properties within the BID area for which they are liable to pay
Can I opt out of the BID?
No. The BID arrangements are legally binding on
non-domestic ratepayers in the business improvement district
What happens to the money that is collected through the
The funds collected through the BID levy are transferred to the
BID Body (Bedford BID Company Ltd) after allowing for the Council’s
costs in collecting the levy. The funds are used by the BID
Body to provide the services required under the terms of the BID
I don't think I benefit from BID services, why should I
The BID levy is a charge payable by law and not a payment for
services received. If you have an enquiry about how you might
benefit from BID services you should contact the Bedford BID
I voted against the BID proposals, do I still have to pay
Yes, the ballot is binding on all business in the BID area
including those that voted against the proposals. The outcome
of the ballot is also binding on persons or organisations who
become ratepayers after the date of the ballot.
How is the levy charge worked out?
The BID levy for each financial year is calculated as £0.02 (2
pence) for every £1.00 of the property’s rateable value as at 1st
April of the year. It will be calculated on a daily basis where a
ratepayer is only liable to pay the BID levy for part of a
Where a property is entered into the rating list for only part
of a year then the charge will be calculated on a daily basis for
the number of days that the property is shown in the rating
Are there any discounts, reliefs or exemptions?
The discounts, reliefs or exemptions from non-domestic rates do
not apply to the BID levy. However, properties with a
rateable value of less than £8,100 are exempt from this BID
Offices occupied by a charity are exempt from this BID levy, but
the levy is payable in respect of shops and other properties
occupied by charities.
We are a charity or a not-for-profit organisation do we still
need to pay?
Offices occupied by a charity are exempt from the BID levy, but
the levy will be payable in respect of shops and other properties
occupied by charities. There is no reduction or exemption for
other not-for-profit organisations.
The property is unoccupied, do I still have to pay?
Yes. A ratepayer for an unoccupied property also has to pay the
Can I pay by instalments?
No. The BID levy is payable in one payment due on 1st May or 14
days after the issue of a levy demand notice whichever is
What will happen if I have paid the charge for the year then
cease to be liable?
If you cease to be liable to pay part way through a financial
year (e.g. you sell the property) and have already paid in full the
Council will calculate the amount you have overpaid and refund this
What will happen if I don’t pay?
The Council will take enforcement action to secure payment in a
similar way to collection of non-domestic rates. Where a payment is
overdue one final notice will be issued requiring payment within
seven days. If payment is not received then a complaint will be
made to the Magistrates seeking a liability order. Additional legal
costs will be charged if legal proceedings are commenced.
Once a liability order is granted the Council can instruct an
enforcement agent to seize goods to be auctioned to raise the money
to pay the levy. In some circumstances a petition can be made for
bankruptcy or the compulsory winding up of a company