Frequently Asked Questions

How was Swansea BID formed?

Swansea BID was formed following a consultation process with the businesses, followed by a ballot in which businesses voted on the BID proposal. Businesses in Swansea City Centre were asked to vote in May 2006 and March 2011 on whether they would like to set up and in 2011 to renew the Business Improvement District in Swansea City Centre. A successful ballot was secured on both occasions.

Both ballots are run by Electoral Services at The City & County of Swansea.

For a BID to go ahead the ballot must be won on two counts:

  1. Straight YES majority
  2. Majority of rateable value (the value of a commercial property unit)

This ensures that the interests of large and small businesses are protected.


What is a BID?

A BID is a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area.


Where did the BID idea start?

BIDs were first established in Canada and the US in the 1960s and now exist across the globe, including in South Africa, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and Australia.


How many BIDs are there in Britain?

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have now been operating across the UK for over a decade.

215 BIDs are now established around the country.

75,000 businesses/organisations are part of BIDs.

Investing over £200 million through BIDs.

BIDs employ over 700 people.


Who pays and who collects the money?

The BID levy is on business occupiers ie. business ratepayers, rather than property owners. This is in line with the business rates system. The BID levy is collected by the local authority into a ring-fenced account (called the BID Revenue Account) and passed to the BID Company for use on the projects and services set out in the BID proposal.


How much do I pay?

A BID is funded through the BID levy, which is a small percentage of a businesses' rateable value. Swansea BIDs case it is 1%. Example - 1% levy, a business with a rateable value of £5,000 would pay £50 per annum.


Is it just another tax?

No, the money does not go to the Central Government or the City Council. Funds are ONLY for BID projects above and beyond those delivered by the local Council.


How do you ensure BIDs add value?

BIDs enter into baseline agreements with the local authority and other service providers which guarantee the level of service provision in the area. These ensure that any services Swansea BID provides are truly additional.

An Operating Agreement is also entered into between a BID and Swansea Council governing how the BID levy monies are collected and administered and passed over to the BID.


What do BIDs actually do?

The improvements made by a BID include core services such as additional car parking and transportation offers, cleansing, area branding, marketing, events, promotions and security or more wide-ranging projects such as business support, recruitment and improved infrastructure etc.

In the case of Swansea BID, the focus is on 5 themes:

  1. Car Parking & Transportation
  2. Safety & Security
  3. Marketing, Promotions & Events
  4. Chewing Gum & Graffitti Removal
  5. Commercial Business

How long does a BID run for?

BIDs operate for a term with a maximum length of five years before going up for renewal ballot. In this case each successful term will be for 5 years.


How successful have BIDs been so far?

There are now 215 BIDs around the UK. Of those, 150 have come to the end of their first BID term or second term and have renewed by the businesses to continue.

The Welsh government have also begun the process of rolling out BIDs across Wales owing to the 'pioneering efforts' and success of the BID here in Swansea.


How and where to pay your BID levy

Please find below the City & Council of Swansea's advice on paying the Swansea BID Levy.

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