What is a Business Improvement District?


Business Improvement Districts (BID) are business led partnerships created through a ballot process to deliver additional services to local businesses in a defined area. They can be a powerful tool for directly involving businesses in local activities and allow them and local authorities to work together to improve their trading environment through investment and an agreed programme of initiatives. It also gives the BID businesses a unified voice, allowing them and local authorities to increase their understanding of each other’s challenges and priorities.

A BID is a defined area in which a levy is charged on all business rate payers in addition to the business rates bill they already receive. This levy is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the local area. There is no limit on what projects or services can be provided through a BID, as long as they an addition to services provided by local authorities. 

'The Business Improvement District (BID) initiative is growing and has a direct link to the Government’s Purpose of supporting sustainable economic growth. The BID model is particularly relevant in the current economic climate. Its flexibility enables the private and public sectors to work together and invest in improvements to the local business environment, while contributing to the wider regeneration of the local community. Businesses also benefit from the sharing of good practice across BID areas.'

Mr Derek Mackay
Minister for Local Government and Planning

Why does Stirling need a BID?

Stirling city centre has a real opportunity for growth and is uniquely placed to exploit this. In order to realise this potential the business community must come together and work as one with local authorities; A BID is a well proven model that can secure funding to deliver services and improvements that address local priorities, in partnership with the local authority and other relevant bodies. The BID will allow local independently owned businesses to work alongside national organisations and collaborate, in order to create a new unified, master plan for Stirling city centre.

Stirling’s geographic location to Glasgow and Edinburgh, cultural and historic assets and relatively small city centre footprint make it a very attractive place to visit, live and work in. The fact that Stirling has very little ‘out of town’ retail development means the city centre is still a very viable shopping and leisure destination. A BID plan that delivers investment and targeted initiatives into the city centre will improve its desirability both locally and nationally for visitors, residents and workers.

What a BID is not...

Firstly GoForth has been established by a group (The Steering Committee) of like minded, local business people who think that BIDs are a good idea; it has not been setup by Stirling Council. The BID is not going to adopt services provided by local authorities; it will only offer additional services that local authorities won’t and will not offer; these initiatives were voted on by affected levy payers and are detailed in the Go Forth Business Plan.

A BID is not a substitute for central or local government investment, it provides additional investment that is designed to strengthen the local economy. 

BIDs in Scotland

In Scotland, there are now 35 BID towns and cities: Aberdeen, Alloa, Barrhead, Bathgate, Carluke, Clarkston, Crieff, Dunblane, Dunferminline, Dunnon and Cowal, Edinburgh Central, Edinburgh Greater Grassmarket, Edinburgh West End, Elgin, Falkirk, Giffnock, Glasgow Byres Road and Lanes, Hamilton, Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Kirkwall, Largs, Linlithgow, Lerwick, Milngavie, Oban, Paisley, Penicuik, South Queensferry, St. Andrews and Stirling. The Board of Directors in each area are delivering projects and services collectively and in collaboration with other bodies and agencies that will be of benefit to the local businesses and local community.

Visit the BIDS Scotland website for more information on the existing BID towns and cities across Scotland.