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News - 21 November 2005

Reading Businesses Vote "Yes" to First Business Improvment District in the South East.

Reading is the first location in the South East of England to set up a Business Improvement District (BID) following the results of a formal postal ballot revealed on 17 November 2005.

The BID will yield c. £1m of additional investment in the city centre, funded by a nominal levy equivalent to 1% of rateable value over the next three years. It will deliver a series of initiatives and services that are in addition to those already provided by Thames Valley Police and the Council which will raise the quality of experience for businesses, customers and visitors alike.

Neil Scott, who has managed the BID project since January this year said: "This is a great opportunity for the business community to acquire a new influence in shaping the future of central Reading."

City Centre Manager, Tim Smith added: "I am confident that this ‘YES’ vote will not only bring extra investment into the city centre but, once our BID has been proven over time, the business community will be asking us to expand and develop it at the end of its three year lifespan.”

BIDs originated in the US and Canada and were introduced to the UK by an Act of Parliament in 2004. The innovative concept involves businesses contributing an annual levy on their business rates, which is then used solely to fund additional improvements to the trading environment. A successful BID requires the support of over 50% of businesses that cast their votes in a postal ballot. Once this trigger is reached then every business in the area is required to contribute.

In Brighton the Business Forum is working with local businesses to explore the prospect of a BID for 2006.  For more information about the Brighton & Hove BID click on the BID icon on the top right hand side of this page.


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