Business Improvement Districts

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a partnership between a local authority and the local business community to develop projects and services that will benefit the trading environment within the boundary of a clearly defined commercial area, where businesses have voted to invest collectively in local improvements which will benefit the local economy. BIDs should not be seen as a substitute for central and local government investment, but rather an additional investment to strengthen an area’s economic outlook with the aim of increasing returns to those businesses that are paying for the improvements on a basis agreed by them.

BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the business sector through an additional levy calculated on the non domestic rates valuation. Businesses within the proposed BID area must vote in favour before the BID can be established. The interests of both large and small businesses are protected through a voting system that requires a majority in the numerical votes cast and the rateable value of votes cast. BIDs have a maximum current duration of 5 years, and will either be dissolved at the end of its term or go back to a vote to be renewed by a further ballot of all eligible businesses.

Before agreeing to fund the additional investment the businesses within the proposed BID area will determine the issues and decide how their money will be spent and how much they are prepared to pay. The BID Development Company will draft a proposal that will include performance guarantees, definition of a management structure and a delivery mechanism. All services delivered by a BID are additional to existing local authority service provision.

Key Points

A BID provides sustainable funding for an agreed period of time.

A BID allows the private sector to work with partners to deliver a wide variety of projects and services.

A BID gives business a strong local voice.

The BID Ballot Process

The BID ballot is a confidential postal ballot commissioned by the Returning Officer of Argyll and Bute Council on behalf of the BID Steering Groups and in accordance with Scottish BID legislation. For the BID to be successful, there must be a minimum of 25% turnout by the number of businesses and by combined rateable value. Of those that vote, over 50% by number and 50% by combined rateable value must vote in favour of the BID.

Find out about the Oban; Dunoon; and Mull, Iona and Ulva BIDs


Here are the results of the latest Oban BID ballot.


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