Lincoln BIG breaks down costs for levy payers before crucial vote

The future of the Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG) will be decided when 800 businesses vote from September 25.

To help them decide, Lincoln BIG has broken down how levy payers’ money is spent across the city.

Lincoln BIG has been supporting the development of the city for a decade, and this year’s vote will decide whether its role is secured for another five years.

The typical average cost of Lincoln BIG for two-thirds of businesses in Lincoln is £141.35 a year – or 39p a day.

A proportion of BIG income comes from a few larger levy payers which include large shops, the City and County councils, the University of Lincoln, property owners and car park operators.

In total, the 300 larger organisations pick up over half of the levy bill.

The remainder is shared by over 500 smaller business levy payers, who on average see an annual levy bill of £141.

Some 8.5 % of that income is spent on central administration costs.

The bid levy is set at 1% of rateable value and ranges from £60 for a small businesses to over £6,000 for larger levy payers.

The majority of businesses in the city centre are smaller, with two-thirds paying a levy of between £60 and £350 per annum.

The £141.35 average levy is spent on the following:

  • Safety strategy – £4.50
  • Lincoln in Bloom – £3.18
  • Events and promotion – £31.04
  • Evening economy management – £5.27
  • Access and transport such as walk and ride, parking discounts and cycle lockers – £20.31
  • Street management including wardens – £6.47
  • Visitor information services (operated under a Service Level Agreement with the city council) – £19.23
  • Special projects such as new websites and new city centre signage – £36.72
  • Marketing – £2.54
  • Central costs, staff and administration – £12.09

Over the last decade Lincoln BIG has driven £10 million worth of investment in the city.

The majority of that money was raised via successful funding bids to organisations like Lottery charities, the government, the Arts Council and Europe and has come on top of the money raised through the levy.

For every £1 raised through the levy BIG has generated a further £2 from other funding streams.

Lincoln BIG Chief Executive, Matt Corrigan, said: “We understand that, for many small businesses and independent traders, every penny counts but the value we deliver to the city and its economy is worth more than the 39p a day it costs for the majority of businesses.

“But we want people to see how their money is invested and to recognise the work that’s been done to make Lincoln an attractive destination for visitors and shoppers.

“We have ensured we bring in as much investment and funding from outside the city as possible and want to continue to build on that success. We have exciting plans for the next five years and hope the business community will support us to allow those plans to become a reality.”

Lincoln BIG proposals, should it achieve another five year term, include a team of tour guides for the Magna Carta celebrations, the development of the walk-and-ride service, and a strategy to develop the evening economy.

City of Lincoln Council’s Executive Committee has agreed the council will cast a ‘yes’ vote in the ballot for the continuation of Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG).

Members acknowledged the significant value of BIG’s work, which aims to build Lincoln’s reputation as a retail and tourist destination, at a meeting of the Executive on Monday, September 22.

Cllr Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the city council, said: “I’m delighted Executive members voted for the continuation of Lincoln BIG. The group contributes a hugely significant amount to the city, not least in its ability to generate additional funding that other organisations are not eligible to apply for. Last year the group brought in £350,000 of private sector investment.

“Another key benefit is the volume of events run by the group. There were 167 last year, providing a spread of activity from the Bailgate to the Brayford and St Marks. Exciting events are vital to maintain the vitality of the city centre, bringing people in and increasing footfall for our retailers.”