BID Facts

Please click each title for more information.

What are BIDs?
An arrangement whereby businesses get together, decide what improvements they want to make in their town centre, how they will manage these and what it will cost them.
This all goes into a business plan which is voted on by all those who would have to pay. The BID lasts for a maximum of 5 years and must be able to demonstrate how it benefits the businesses that have funded it.
The BID Huntingdon Business Plan is dated 2012 to 2017 and can be found on the Documents Library .
Have BIDs been supported elsewhere in the UK?
Since September 2004, when this legislation was introduced, there have been over 190 BIDs in the UK, which over the next five years will bring in nearly £300 million of new finance to develop town and city centres. Local BIDs include Love Bedford, Cambridge BID and Ipswich Central.
What can a BID deliver?
BIDs can deliver any projects or services that are agreed by the businesses in the BID area and that are over and above anything that the Public Sector/Local Authorities provides.

In most cases, a BID would include marketing and promotional activities, increasing safety and security for businesses and customers, and enhancing the customer experience.

The important thing is that the BID is focused on delivering the operational projects as determined by detailed consultation with all businesses in the BID area.

Why do businesses support BIDs?
A BID is a mechanism which allows businesses to raise a sum of money to manage and deliver projects that they have identified and believe will improve their trading environment, ultimately increasing trade for those businesses who are paying for the improvements.
Who can develop a BID?
A BID can be proposed by any business ratepayer, property owner, local authority or other key stakeholders with an interest in the BID area. In Huntingdon the BID was proposed by Huntingdon Town Partnership.
Who pays for a BID?
Once projects and services have been agreed by businesses, these are costed up. The cost to each business is worked out on a pro rata basis. ‘This is called the ‘BID LEVY’.
A formal vote then takes place on the agreed projects and services and if the majority vote YES then all businesses and organisations with a rateable value within the BID area have to pay a contribution.
The BID levy is normally paid by the occupiers of a property.  If a property is empty the contribution is paid by the landlord.

The BID Huntingdon levy is 1.5% of the rateable value of a premises.
According to the BID legislation in England and Wales the only agency that can collect the BID levy is the local authority. The invoices are sent out by Huntingdonshire District Council annually in the autumn. Once the levy is collected the money is passed to BID Huntingdon, a not for profit company limited by guarantee.

In addition, BIDs can draw in other voluntary funding from businesses within and outside the BID area, grants and ‘in-kind’ contributions to supplement the BID levy.

How will the BID be managed?
BIDS are normally controlled and managed by local businesses that are paying the levy. Currently the majority of successful BIDs are delivered through a Company Limited by Guarantee.

The BID company is responsible for the delivery of the BID projects and services and is directly responsible to all businesses through a board elected from those businesses that pay the BID levy. In Huntingdon there are 20 Directors on the BID Board.

How does an area become a BID?
Normally a ‘BID Task Group’ is set up which is responsible for putting together a detailed business plan setting out the projects it aims to deliver on behalf of the businesses in the BID area.

This is based on a detailed consultation process with businesses. The business plan will include the projects, cost, delivery guarantees, performance indicators and the management structure.
A confidential postal vote is held. All the businesses that would pay the BID levy get a vote. To become a BID a majority of those that vote must be in favour by number and rateable value.

This work was carried out in Huntingdon between January and July 2012. The ballot result was a 46% turnout with an 81% yes vote by number and an 85% yes vote by rateable value of the premises. The threshold for a positive ballot is a result of over 50% for both these of these triggers.

A successful BID then has a mandate for a maximum of five years after which the BID would need to seek a re-ballot.

Does this mean the Local Authorities will stop providing services?
BID money can only be used to carry out projects/services in addition to those that the Public Sector have to provide. Prior to the BID Business Plan being produced the current services being delivered by all public agencies, including the Local Authorities and Police, have been baselined/benchmarked.

The BID company can agree to provide additional resources to deliver a higher level of service over and above the baselined/benchmarked level if this is what businesses have identified as a priority. Baseline information has been provided by Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Huntingdon Town Council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary. All baseline statements can be viewed at the BID Huntingdon offices.

How is a BID monitored?
Like any good business plan, specific key performance indicators (KPIs) are set and performance is monitored against the KPIs by the BID Board.

The BID company is answerable to the businesses that pay the BID levy and are required to monitor and inform its members on progress towards the agreed KPIs.

Who else is doing it?
There are now over 190 BIDs in the UK which, over the next five years, will bring in nearly £300 million of new finance to develop their centres.

Examples of towns and cities near to Huntingdon include Cambridge, Bedford, Wellingborough, Melton Mowbray, Hitchin, Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich, Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Lincoln.

More information can be found at or