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Questions and Answers

Why was Inverness BID formed?

In 2007, the Scottish Government announced the opportunity for six pathfinder BIDs to be formed. The business members of the then Inverness City Centre Management (ICCM) and the Old Town Traders Association, together with the Highland Council, agreed to seek pathfinder status and create the Inverness Business Improvement District as a way to improve the city centre for businesses and the public alike.

What was the voting process?

In March 2008, the Inverness BID Steering Group presented a Business Plan to the city centre businesses for approval to create a business improvement district. That plan was subject to a ‘three tier’ test: - There had to be a minimum 25% turn out; - over 50% of those voting had to approve the proposal by number; as well as - over 50% by rateable value. This ‘triple test’ ensured that Inverness BID had widespread support from businesses in Inverness City Centre.

What was the outcome of the Inverness BID ballot on the 21st March 2013?

Ballots in favour by number: 73.2% Ballots in favour by rateable value: 84.4% Turnout by number: 34.4% Turnout by rateable value: 53.1%

How long does the Inverness BID run for?

The businesses approved the business plan to run for 5 years which is the maximum allowable under BID legislation. Inverness BID therefore runs for 5 years until 31st March 2013.

What happens at the end of the First Term in 2013?

At the end of the initial period, most BIDs have applied for a second term, but it is for the Inverness city centre businesses to approve this.
At the end of the first term

What is the area of the Inverness Business Improvement District?

The BID area takes in the heart of Inverness Old Town Centre, covering over 700 separate rateable properties (or ‘hereditaments') including a mix of retail, office, leisure and other commercial uses. It extends from Eastgate Shopping Centre in the East to Bank Street at the Ness Riverside in the West, from Castle Street to High Street in the South and up Friar's Lane in the North. It also covers businesses in Academy Street, Church Street, School Lane, Post Office Avenue, Rose Street, Margaret Street, Strothers Lane, Railway Terrace, Queensgate, Union Street, Fraser Street, Bank Lane, Bridge Street, High Street, Eastgate, Inglis Street, Stephen's Brae, Market Brae, Falcon Square, Station Square, Drummond Street, Lombard Street and Baron Taylor's Street. The BID boundary therefore incorporates the main tourism attractions, retail areas, Inverness Railway Station and a number of Council-owned properties including The Highland Council and the Town Hall. The BID boundary is illustrated on the map on the Inverness BID Area page under the about BID menu.

How is the BID levy calculated and collected?

The BID levy for the 5 year period is based on the 2005 non-domestic valuation of the property and is not affected by the 2010 revaluation. The Highland Council is the designated billing authority and collects the BID levy on behalf of Inverness BID Ltd. Businesses receive an invoice for payment in one instalment as at 1st April each year.

Who is eligible to pay BID Levy?

As the majority of businesses in the BID area voted in favour of the creation of the business improvement district, then all business property owners and occupiers in the BID area are eligible to pay BID levy. The current levy of 1% is applied to each business property. The invoice will split 50:50 between the property owner and the tenant. i.e. An invoice for half the levy will be sent to the landlord and an invoice for the other half will be sent to the business occupier of the premise. Where the business is owner occupied as is the case with many independent stores, the owner-occupier pays the full 1%.

Are there exemptions and reliefs from the BID levy?

Yes, businesses with a rateable value (based on the 2005 valuation) of less than £8,000 will be exempt from paying the levy. Churches and established places of worship are also exempt from the levy as they are not run as businesses and are unlikely to see an increase in their income as a result of Inverness BID activity. In addition, although properties in the Eastgate Shopping Centre and the Victorian Market will, along with all other eligible businesses contribute a 1% levy towards BID projects, the Eastgate shopping centre will be able to contribute up to 40% of the amount due as "in kind" support, subject to agreement of the BID Board. Likewise, properties in the Victorian Market: Academy Street Arcade, Market Hall and Queensgate Arcade will be able to contribute up to 30% as "in kind" support.

What is the position with charities?

Charity shops do pay BID levy as like any other city centre business they benefit from marketing and improved retail environment. However, non retail charities operating in the BID area are not charged the levy.

What happens if my property is partly or wholly empty?

Under legislation, the BID levy is payable on the whole rating assessment irrespective of whether part or all of the property is empty.

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