Many Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Scotland will be at the forefront of the local response to the COVID-19 outbreak through a £1 million resilience fund made available by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell.

Business Improvement Districts are collaborative business improvement projects whereby local businesses vote to establish a company to deliver joint economic and business development initiatives from a shared fund. Local businesses agree to pay an additional levy on top of their business rates to pay for projects that will improve the local economy and business outcomes for businesses and communities alike. There are 37 active BIDs across Scotland with many more in the pipeline.

Alongside the package of measures to support businesses, including a suspension of business rates for some businesses, Scotland’s Improvement Districts, the national centre for BIDs, have suggested that local authorities might agree not collect the BID levy during the current COVID-19 crisis, while the £1 million funding package will allow many BIDs to play a vital role in supporting local businesses and town centres during these challenging times.

As part of the COVID-19 BIDs Resilience Fund, administered through Scotland’s Improvement Districts, many BIDs across Scotland will be able to apply for funding to support local businesses by signposting to, and supporting them to avail of, the Government support that is available and coordinate a response at a local level to keep the local economy moving.

BIDs will support local businesses to find new and innovative ways to maintain trading, and support other community initiatives to help more vulnerable people. In addition, they will commence preparations for a locally led recovery campaign to help local town centres bounce back once the Government’s social distancing rules have been relaxed.

The above measures are to help local economies cope with COVID19 Emergency and will be reviewed on a regular basis with Cosla Economy Colleagues, STP and Scottish Government.

A Spice Briefing on COVID19 Legislation related to BIDS

A Briefing note and Webinar invite for BIDS and LA colleagues

As a key stakeholder of improvement districts in Scotland I’d like to make you aware of the following key announcements and support:

  •  The £1 million COVID-19 BID Resilience Fund and position towards BIDs was announced by Scottish Government to help BIDs through the coronavirus crisis.
  • An information webinar about accessing and using the fund and wider advice will be held with SIDs National Programme Director, Phil Prentice.

Scotland’s Improvement Districts Team

(Update provided by Phil Prentice, SID’s/ STP)