Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Supplement could squeeze out levy...
Supplement could squeeze out levy

By Dan Drillsma-Milgrom, finance reporter

Sir Michael Lyons' proposals to allow councils to levy a supplementary business rate could fatally undermine the government's Business Improvement District scheme.

A report by London BIDs, which represents the 15 existing schemes in London, says the combined burden of a supplementary rate and a BID levy may prove too much for local businesses to bear.

Dr Julie Grail, chief executive of Partnership Solutions, which runs both London BIDs and British BIDs, its nationwide parent organisation, told LGC: 'BIDs typically levy 1p on the rateable value of properties. If you are setting an extra 4p from a supplementary rate then there is no way you will get a BID as well.'

In a BID, businesses can vote to pay a small supplement on their business rates to fund improvements in their local area. Last month, Sir Michael proposed councils be able to levy a higher supplement to pay for bigger transport and infrastructure projects.

The problems arise from his suggestion that in London and two-tier areas, a single rate should be set through agreement between the relevant authorities. This means that while BIDs would continue to be set by shire districts and London boroughs, projects requiring a supplement to the business rate would likely be set at a county or London-wide level.

Despite this, the likelihood that a supplementary rate could be introduced without a vote could make it easier to implement than a BID levy.

Westminster City Council is considering using an enhanced BID to help fund a massive redevelopment of the eastern end of Oxford Street.

Nick Bell, director of resources at Westminster, said a London-wide supplementary business rate to fund Crossrail or the Olympic Games could scupper the plans.

He told LGC this was a real concern. 'The proposals, if implemented, could see the Greater London Authority being responsible for levying and collecting any supplementary rate.

'This would likely result in money contributed by Westminster businesses funding the mayor's priorities, rather than being reinvested in areas such as Oxford Street and the West End.'

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.