To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to support Business Improvement Districts with their operational costs.
BIDs are a proven and effective vehicle for leveraging private investment and have a significant role to play in high street regeneration: in 2019, 259 BIDs across England raised over £106.7 million through levy payments to invest back into their respective towns and cities. Their role will be even more important in the recovery phase from the current crisis.
During 2020, the Government paid £5.8m of support funding to 260 BIDs in England to assist with their core running costs. The funding was delivered through non-ringfenced section 31 grants to Local Authorities, who distributed this to the BID bodies in their area.
The Government included provisions within the Coronavirus Act 2020 that enables BIDs to delay any renewal ballots due to take place before 31 December 2020, until 31 March 2021. This is to allow businesses to focus on recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic before deciding whether to participate in future BID arrangements. While this extension will come to an end on 31 March 2021, we have heard many positive examples of BIDs who have undertaken successful renewal ballots. We also know that many are also seeing the BID levy continuing to be paid by members.