DBID company to go ahead with charging a levy - 'but supporting Yorkshire Coast businesses at this time is our priority'
A controversial levy on tourism businesses across the North Yorkshire coast will not be suspended during the Covid-19 crisis despite a plea from Scarborough Council.
The Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District (BID) company has said that it is “unable to defer or discount levy payments at this time” due to its “stature”.
It will instead lobby the Government to introduce “levy relief” to mirror that offered to business rates payers.
A company spokesman added: “Since the ballot in 2019, the BID has worked in partnership with its members, to promote and protect the Yorkshire Coast for the benefit of all business members and visitors. Now, more than ever, the BID’s role is vital to ensure this work continues.”
Last week, Scarborough Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Liz Colling, called for the levy on more than 1,300 businesses to be deferred to help those fighting to keep their livelihoods afloat in the midst of the pandemic.
The tourism businesses from Staithes to Spurn Point with a rateable value of more than £12,000 are all liable for the mandatory 1.5% levy, but after cuts to business rates in the budget and the relief offered by the government in the Covid-19 crisis the BID was asked to follow suit.
In a statement released to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Clive Rowe-Evans, Chairman of the Yorkshire Coast BID, said: “We know this is a difficult time for our members and so we are actively working with National BID Institutes, to encourage central government to introduce levy payment relief as it did for business rates earlier this week.
“This is an unprecedented situation and I want to reassure business owners that levy collections are not the BID’s priority at this time. Working together and rolling out much-needed support for businesses remains our utmost priority.
“We have launched a partnership with ShopAppy to support our independent members in offering local consumers a food and provisions delivery service, in order to mitigate the effect of social distancing and self-isolation.
“It is vital that the BID and our valued members work together with the wider community as one to ensure businesses along the Yorkshire Coast are supported during this time.”