Explanatory Memorandum

Business Improvement Districts Act (Northern Ireland) 2013

2013 CHAPTER 5

21 March 2013

Background and Policy Objectives

3.The Business Improvement District Act (Northern Ireland) 2013 introduces provisions to allow for statutory business improvement districts (BIDs) in Northern Ireland and provides a general legislative framework for the BID scheme, with the detail of the scheme to be introduced through secondary legislation.

4.BIDs legislation is already in place in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The concept originated in America and experience has shown that the BID model has the potential to bring about an improved business environment and improved economic growth. Proposals for Northern Ireland BIDs have been informed by legislation and practice in other parts of the UK and Ireland.

5.Failure to introduce BIDs legislation would have meant that those who wish to establish BIDs would have to rely on informal or voluntary financial arrangements. Experience has shown that this can be problematic and lead to difficulties in raising sufficient finance to support schemes.

6.In broad terms, the Act:

7.Many of the provisions in the Act provides for the later introduction of statutory rules. It is largely through these instruments that the detail of what is required legislatively, to underpin the introduction of BID arrangements, will be put in place. The Department’s intention is to allow maximum flexibility within the general framework provided for in primary legislation, in order that the scheme can be adapted to suit local needs.