Members of the Beverley Chamber of Trade were given a presentation as they look to explore plans to launch an incentive called Beverley BID (Business Improvement Districts).
The reason for their interest in taking such an incentive forward is unclear at this point though it is something that will impact numerous businesses through what is essentially an additional tax.
Put simply, a BID consists of an organisation paying a percentage of the ‘rateable value’ of their business into a fund which is then managed by a private limited company that is tasked with delivering projects.
BIDs, according to the government guidelines can impose a levy on businesses of between 1pc and 4pc of their rateable value. In many instances, BIDs tend to be around 1pc to 2pc.
Julia Chance, the BID manager in Northallerton presented a case for why ‘BIDs’ offer advantages to towns. In her town, Northallerton, they proposed a 1.5pc levy on businesses in their business plan each, for the five year term.
For an over stretched and under funded local authority, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, using the same method, and taking just some of their assets into account, could be looking at having to find *£21,105pa from the public purse to pay into the incentive.
Julia also said that local authorities, who have to collect the money, would, in her experience provide this service for free, adding yet more financial burden to the tax payer.
Of course, not all businesses will be asked to pay, but this will depend on a number of factors that will be determined by those tabling the BID. However, if you are exempt from the levy, you also have no voice when it comes to the vote if the town should indeed go down this route.
BIDs may work in big cities or towns where councils fail to deliver, but here in Beverley, it is very hard to understand why a BID would provide any value to an already well serviced town.
While Julia outlined the benefits, there was no real counter argument presented to the same people as to why a BID may not be right for Beverley, or the issues faced in other areas who have such a scheme.
This raises very serious questions as to why a small group of people in Beverley seem so keen on taking our community down this path, and as of yet it is hard to understand what their motives are.
ERYC will ultimately have the final say to decide if Beverley BID can be taken to the wider business community and an election can be held.
*Figures based on Northallerton Business Plan and Government Rate Vales