Your BID Questions – Answered

Here we’ll answer the frequently asked questions about BIDs and the BID Camborne project in particular. Clicking on the plus symbols to the right of the text will extend each section.

General BID Questions

1. Is a BID a tax by a different name?
It’s not so much a charge, as an investment. It’s money generated locally to be spent locally. It is run by, and for local businesses and levy payers will have a stake in the organisation or Company that delivers the BID.

2. Isn’t a BID just about retail?
No. A BID can operate in any defined geographical area and it is up to the BID proposer to agree which businesses are part of the scheme.
For instance, 28 BIDs are operating on industrial estates; one BID in Nottingham is purely for the licensed sector and the Holborn BID comprises businesses mostly operating out of offices. The BID programme should reflect the priorities of the businesses that will be required to pay the levy.

3. How long does a BID last?
A BID mandate is for a maximum of 5 years. A BID wishing to continue beyond 5 years must reaffirm their mandate through another ballot, based on a further proposal. 34 renewal ballots have been held so far, 33 sucessfully. All BID’s being renewed have higher numbers of businesses voting ‘YES’ ‘than during their first term’.

BID Camborne Frequently Asked Questions

1) What was the election result for BID Camborne? (1st March 2012)
Under BID legislation, both the Yes vote by number and the Yes vote by rateable value need to exceed 50%
Number of YES votes 110
% YES votes 67.9%
% of rateable value YES votes 79.58%
Number of NO votes 50
% NO votes 30.86%
% of Rateable value NO votes 20.10%
Number of Electors 318
Number of Votes Cast 162
Turnout 50.94%

2) Why is BID Camborne a Limited Company?
BIDs are set up as companies limited by guarantee as it is the recommended structure for all BID companies.
The BID steering group agreed the BID company articles of association in January 2012. The articles of association are available on this website.

3) Are the Board minutes publicly available?
At board meetings on occasion BID Camborne Directors may discuss matters which are commercially sensitive or if published would break data protection legislation. To ensure the company does not break data protection legislation in this manner BID Camborne edits the board meeting minutes shown on this website.

Levy Questions

1. How much do I pay?
A 2% levy for BID Camborne would mean that around £111K per year could be generated. Over 70% of businesses pay less than £5 per week. Businesses under £5K rateable value only pay £100 per annum. Think – how many extra customers would you need to recoup this levy?
The BID Camborne Steering Group had the option of applying an inflationary rise each year and this has been done in Truro and Falmouth with 3% added annually. BID Camborne chose not to add annual inflation.

2. How and when do I pay my bill?
Cornwall Council is responsible for collecting the levy on behalf of BID Camborne. The process for collecting BID levy is the same process as followed for business rates collection.
Your annual bill will be sent to you in March to be paid by 1st April each year. Information on how to pay will be provided on the reverse of the bill. The payment phone number is 0300 1234 171 and Option 3 for BID Payments.
If your bill is not paid by 1st April then a reminder bill will be issued to you.
If you have not paid your bill by the end of May your account will be put into debt recovery. If your account goes into debt recovery it will incur additional charges. These charges are as follows:-

  • A £45 charge will be added if you are summonsed to court, but pay before going to court.
  • An additional £25 charge will be added if your account is taken to court, so £70 in total.
  • If your account is taken to court, bailiffs will be appointed to recover the debt, which may incur more charges.

3. How and when do I pay my bill if I join mid-way through a year?
If you join the BID Camborne area during the year you will be sent a bill 5 working days after your name goes onto the business rate listing for the commercial property in question. The bill will be prorated for the proportion of the year as appropriate.
If you do not pay your bill on time, then a reminder bill will be issued.
If you do not pay your reminder bill your account will enter the debt recovery process and will incur additional charges as outlined above.

4. How and when do I pay my bill if I leave mid-way through a year?
If you leave the BID Camborne area during the year and have paid your annual bill you will be refunded the prorated proportion of the bill once your name is removed from the commercial property in question.

5. Are BIDs backed with legislation?
Yes – The Local Government Act 2003,Part 4 and Regulations made under it, deal with BIDs in the UK.

6. Are all business (non-domestic) ratepayers in the BID area required to pay the levy?
Yes, all businesses with a ‘shop front’ in the BID Camborne area pay the BID levy.

7. Is it just the private sector who pay the levy?
No. Non-domestic ratepayers include charities and the public sector who will pay on their buildings and car parks in Camborne. BID Camborne Steering Group agreed that some local charitable organisations, without a ‘shop front,’ will be exempt.

8. Will my landlord have to pay?
Landlords do not have any legal obligation to pay but many do so, on a voluntary basis. However, where a property becomes empty and the departing tenant is no longer liable for the rates, the landlord picks up the cost of the BID levy until the unit is re-let.

9. £111K isn’t much money; will there be opportunities to add to this?
Yes. The BID company will strive to secure additional contributions to supplement the levy during the lifetime of the BID. This might include contributions from local authority sources, grant funding bodies, landlords, sponsorship and some activities might generate trading income.

Council Questions

1. Shouldn’t the Councils be doing more?
The BID levy will provide additional services & will not fund activities that are the statutory responsibility of the local authorities or the police. The levy is not like non-domestic rates – all of it will remain in Camborne to be spent on things that are important to you.
So far BID Camborne has reached this stage with support from Cornwall Council. The Council is also a levy payer has a vote and pays the 2%. Cornwall Councill is the second largest levy payer contributing over £12,000 p.a. based on a 2% levy.

2. I already pay my rates, why should I pay any more
In an ideal world, you shouldn’t have to pay any more. We appreciate that there is already a high burden placed on businesses – rates, rent, overheads etc. Unfortunately, non-domestic rates are collected locally but distributed nationally (see explanation below) and Cornwall doesn’t always get its fair share back. A BID scheme allows you to create your own pot of money that you can control and spend on what you feel are priorities; things that will help Camborne and in turn, help you to trade.

3. I don’t really understand what I get for my rates now
As part of the BID’s development process, we have baselined (write down) the statutory services that are currently provided. Businesses can clearly see what their rates go towards in terms of things like cleaning, highways, lighting etc and this acts as a safeguard to demonstrate that these areas will not be funded through the BID – the BID is about ‘additional’.

4. How are business (non-domestic – NDRs) rates collected & how are they redistributed?
Each ‘Billing Authority’ – in this case, Cornwall Council, collects non domestic rates from businesses within its area and pays the sum collected to central Government, into a National Pool. The Council is merely acting as agents for Central Government in the collection of business rates.
Central Government in turn redistributes the total non domestic rates to all local authorities in the country based on population and other service related factors – Cornwall doesn’t get back all that it has collected.
The amounts received will support service costs across the whole of the county and it is therefore not possible to accurately determine how much of this money is directed to Camborne.

BID Delivery Questions

1. Who  manages & runs the BID?
The BID Camborne company limited by guarantee representing relevant stakeholders from the area. Directors are drawn from the private sector plus four places for local authority representatives and property owners who have chosen to contribute financially to the BID. The BID Camborne Company was set up as a private limited company in January 2012.

2. Who will deliver the BID in Camborne?
A Steering group agreed the Articles of Assocation for BID Camborne. A part-time manager and up to 15 volunteer Directors form the mangement structure.

3. When was BID Camborne approved and when did it start?
BID Camborne achieved a ‘Yes’ vote in March 2012 and commenced in April 2012.

4. Who collects the BID levy revenue?
It is the responsibility of Cornwall Council to collect the levy on behalf of the BID Company. The levy is then transferred over to the BID Company at regular intervals, agreed in the operating agreement which both the BID Company and the local authority signed.

5. Where is the BID funding kept?
Held by the BID Company in its own account to be spent only on the projects approved by the BID Company.

6. Are BID projects and services monitored?
Yes – to ensure that they deliver the added value and outcomes agreed in the BID Proposal/Business Plan.

Ballot

1. Who gets to vote for or against a proposed BID?
All ratepayers who would be liable to pay the additional BID levy would be able to vote in the ballot.

2. If the ballot is successful, and I voted no, will I still have to pay?
Yes, if a majority (over 50%) of those that vote, vote in favour by both number & rateable value, the levy will become mandatory. Payment of the levy carries the same enforcement as non-domestic rates.

3. What form does the ballot take?
Your ballot paper will be sent to you by post and once you have voted, you will have the choice to either return it by post via an enclosed pre-paid envelope or, alternatively, a sealed ballot box will be available in Camborne (venue to be confirmed) for you to place your ballot paper in. Cornwall Council will be responsible for holding the BID Camborne ballot.

* All figures are correct as at October 2011. For up to date figures please visit: www.britishbids.info