Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)

A Business Improvement District (BID) is part of a town, tourism and visitor area, commercial district, or specific theme (such as food and drink), in which businesses work together to invest in local improvements.

The BIDs model is designed to help local businesses to improve their communities.

We support the implementation of BIDs and award grants for BID development.

How BIDs are created

BIDs can only exist if they get support from a clear majority of local businesses in a vote.

They operate for up to five years and are developed, managed and paid for by businesses through a compulsory BID charge.

If the businesses that are part of BIDs want them to continue once the five years are up, another vote must take place.

BIDs in Scotland

There are 39 BIDs in Scotland and the model has been used in different environments, including town centres, business parks, industrial estates and tourism initiatives.

Our analysts are carrying out a survey on the performance of BIDs Scotland, the national organisation for BIDS in Scotland. The results will be published as soon as they are available.

BIDs came into force in Scotland in 2007 as a result of primary legislation in Part 9 of the Planning etc (Scotland) Act 2006 and other secondary legislation.

This included UK parliamentary regulations needed to implement reserved aspects of the policy.

Developing a BID in Scotland

We are keen to develop innovative uses for the BIDs model and would welcome proposals.

If you have an idea or project that you think could benefit from the BID model visit the BIDs Scotland website, or contact Ian Davison Porter (BIDs Project Director in Scotland) on 0780 106 4733, or at

Applying for a seedcorn grant

We can provide a seedcorn grant of £20,000 to help potential BIDs develop a proposal to take to ballot.

Contact BIDs Scotland for more advice and to receive an application form.

Review of Business Improvement Districts Scotland

In December 2016 we published our review of Business Improvement Districts Scotland.

Further information