Business Improvement District (BID) levy explained

Bedford Town Centre businesses pay an annual financial levy called a Business Improvement District (BID) levy. This is to provide services of benefit to businesses in the area.

Find the geographical area of the BID.

If you're a business in the BID area, you can make your BID levy payments online:

Pay a BID levy

The Bedford BID Company

The Bedford BID Company, is responsible for running BID projects and services.

The funds collected through the BID levy are transferred to the BID Body (Bedford BID Company Ltd) minus the Council’s costs in collecting the levy. The funds are used by the BID Body to provide the services required under the terms of the BID ballot.

Larger Town Centre businesses must pay a Business Improvement District Levy of 2 pence for each £1 of the rateable value of the property. 

The latest BID was established through a ballot of businesses that would be liable to pay the levy. This was conducted on 18 October 2019 and is binding on ratepayers in the BID area until March 2025.

BIDs last for a maximum of five years after which time a further vote must be held.

Council’s role

The Council is by law the billing authority for any business improvement district in its area which means it is responsible for the collection of BID levies. The Council is not be responsible for providing the BID services because there is a non-local authority BID body for the Bedford BID.

Business benefits in return for paying a BID levy

Bedford BID's projects and services range from creating a cleaner and safer environment to marketing and promotion to attract new visitors to the town. A summary of the services concerned is set out in BedfordBID’s BID Renewal Proposal document.

The BID levy is a charge payable by law and not a payment for services received. If you have an enquiry about how you might benefit from BID services you should contact the Bedford BID Company.

Further information about the services that will be provided can be obtained from:

BedfordBID Company Ltd, Suite 8, Marks Mews, 37 Castle Lane, Bedford, MK40 3NT. Email:

Who pays the BID levy

The person or organisation liable to pay the non-domestic rates for the property is liable to pay the BID levy. Where a property is occupied this is the occupier. For empty properties, the person or organisation entitled to occupy the property is liable to pay. This will normally be the leaseholder or the owner.

The Council and other public bodies must pay the levy on properties within the BID area for which they are liable to pay non-domestic rates.

The BID levy for 2024/25 is payable in one payment due 14 days after the issue of a levy demand notice. There are no instalments.

The BID arrangements are legally binding on non-domestic ratepayers in the business improvement district area. If you cease to be liable to pay part way through a financial year (eg you sell the property) and have already paid in full the Council will calculate the amount you have overpaid and refund this to you.

How the levy charge is calculated

The BID levy for each financial year is calculated as £0.02 (2 pence) for every £1 of the property’s rateable value as at 1 April of the year. It will be calculated on a daily basis where a ratepayer is only liable to pay the BID levy for part of a year.

Where a property is entered into the rating list for only part of a year then the charge will be calculated on a daily basis for the number of days that the property is shown in the rating list.

Discounts, reliefs or exemptions

The discounts, reliefs or exemptions from non-domestic rates do not apply to the BID levy. However, properties with a rateable value of £12,000 or less are exempt from this BID levy.

Offices occupied by a charity are exempt from this BID levy, but the levy is payable in respect of shops and other properties occupied by charities.

Offices occupied by a charity are exempt from the BID levy, but the levy will be payable in respect of shops and other properties occupied by charities. There is no reduction or exemption for other not-for-profit organisations.

I voted against the BID proposals

The ballot is binding on all business in the BID area including those that voted against the proposals. The outcome of the ballot is also binding on persons or organisations who become ratepayers after the date of the ballot.

If you do not pay

The Council will take enforcement action to secure payment in a similar way to collection of non-domestic rates. Where a payment is overdue one final notice will be issued requiring payment within seven days. If payment is not received then a complaint will be made to the Magistrates seeking a liability order. Additional legal costs will be charged if legal proceedings are commenced.

Once a liability order is granted the Council can instruct an enforcement agent to seize goods to be auctioned to raise the money to pay the levy. In some circumstances a petition can be made for bankruptcy or the compulsory winding up of a company.