BID status ‘not the answer for our city’

THE EXECUTIVE Summary, circulated by the City Centre Partnership to promote the proposed Business Improvement District tax, threatens that Chichester retailers face increasing competition from other towns that already have established BIDs ‘such as Winchester, Worthing, Portsmouth and Southampton (and Guildford next year)’.

A simple internet check shows that Portsmouth has never had a BID, Guildford has only just completed their consultant appointment process so haven’t voted on a BID yet, and Southampton businesses voted against having a BID in 2009.

Two out of five right is not a good score for a group proposing to tax businesses and claiming to know how to improve business in the city. Indeed, small non-retail businesses like our own, who have no commercial interest in local footfall, are wondering why they have to be taxed at all to improve trading conditions for companies like Marks and Spencer and Boots.

Last week’s Observer gave further cause for concern. With little sign of recovery from the deepest and longest post-war recession, many businesses failing and others focused on survival, the City Centre Partnership is proposing to tax local businesses to provide public art.

It is not clear why a new tax is needed for this if Giles Penny’s sculpture is currently available to the city without a charge to businesses.

If by ‘no-brainer’ Councillor Dignum means that you need no brains to vote for the new tax, I’m inclined to agree.

Derrick Pope,

Managing director, Pope Consulting Ltd