Edinburgh city centre businesses vote to continue paying levy for extra initiatives
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City-centre businesses in Edinburgh have voted overwhelmingly to continue paying the levy that raises £1 million a year to fund extra cleaning and special events to promote the heart of the Capital.
Edinburgh has had a Business Improvement District (BID) – where businesses and organisations contribute an annual amount to finance initiatives on top of council services – since 2008, but a vote has to take place every five years to renew it. The BID, which covers Princes Street and the New Town, is run by Essential Edinburgh and initiatives have included movie nights in St Andrew Square with the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the "Clean Team" which carries out targeted extra street cleansing.
The ballot, which has just been completed, produced a thumping 92 per cent vote in favour of continuing the BID for the next five years. Essential Edinburgh chief executive Roddy Smith said: “The high level of support amongst businesses is a ringing endorsement of the work to date of Essential Edinburgh, and also of the business plan we put to our levy-payers for the next five years. The city centre is recovering strongly post pandemic and we look forward to working proactively and in partnership with the Edinburgh business community to support change, progress and economic growth.
“Essential Edinburgh will deliver on the business plan, as we have done over the past 15 years, to ensure the £1 million a year our businesses invest in the city centre is spent wisely, innovatively and on exciting projects and services that make the city centre the best in Britain.”
Priorities identified in the plan for the next five years include championing business rates reform; ensuring the voice of businesses is heard on the George Street redesign project; improving the cleanliness of the city centre and increasing the attractiveness of the area through the use of high-quality seasonal street dressing. Denzil Skinner, chair of Essential Edinburgh, said: “The result again demonstrates that city centre businesses appreciate the real value in the programme delivered by Essential Edinburgh, and are committed to their continued investment in this wonderful city centre.”
Lachlan Rooney, managing director of The Voodoo Rooms, congratulated Essential Edinburgh on he success of the vote. He said: “The BID is nothing short of essential for city centre businesses, their customers, and visitors alike. Each year the footprint grows, with more and more people reaping the benefits of initiatives curated and fostered by the Essential Edinburgh team. Long may the good work continue.”
And council leader Cammy Day said the ballot result was “brilliant news” for the city centre. “I congratulate the BID team who set out a clear and ambitious vision for the future and how they plan to deliver for the city and its businesses over the next five years. As we continue the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic the Business Improvement District will play a pivotal role in securing a successful and prosperous future for the city by creating jobs and supporting the economy. As a key partner, we look forward to continuing our work to boost town centre trade and make sure the capital city remains a vibrant place where business can thrive.”