This exciting opportunity, considered the first of its kind in the world, means a collective identity for local food and drink producers that will enable the development of business opportunities and help build a prosperous and sustainable business sector, as well as market East Lothian as a quality provider of outstanding produce.
By working together under an umbrella brand soon to be determined, the BID will deliver a range of projects and services; attract further investment to East Lothian’s food and drink sector that otherwise would not be available, as well as advocate working partnerships with commercial and public agencies.
Operating as an independent organisation, the first step will be to form a company limited by guarantee by August, along with a board of directors and the recruitment of a BID manager to administer the 5-year business plan, delivering a range of projects and services that will have a significant impact on the future of the local food and drink sector.
Government legislation will require all 37 eligible producers to become members and pay a sliding scale levy. Food and drink businesses operating from non-domestic rated properties that are producing, processing, manufacturing or adding value to food and drink products in East Lothian will now be asked, as a member, to pay a sliding scale annual levy of between £350 to £650, based on the number of full-time equivalent employees. All East Lothian food & drink businesses, however, will be able to pay a voluntary levy and receive the full membership benefits.
In addition to match funding from local government, East Lothian Council’s ‘East Lothian Food & Drink’ brand initiative will continue to provide valuable support to the sector through its programme of events, promotion and business support, working in tandem with the new BID.
Councillor John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism at East Lothian Council, said:
“This is truly fantastic news. Despite tough economic times across the country in the last few years, the quality food and drink sector continues to grow and we’ve certainly seen that in East Lothian. I’m absolutely delighted that our forward-thinking, innovative businesses in this sector have taken this opportunity to collaborate on a whole new level, harnessing that collaborative power to help their businesses grow even further. I’m proud to say that East Lothian Council has been supporting this BID process from the very start and will continue to support the BID through the East Lothian Food & Drink initiative. It’s a very bright future for this sector in East Lothian.”
Louise Elder, chair of the steering committee behind the East Lothian Food & Drink BID said:
“The commitment to collaboration by a yes vote for the East Lothian Food & Drink BID has come from an industry ready to embrace new and exciting ventures in marketing and distributing our finest East Lothian produce.”
Ian Davison Porter, Project Director of BIDs Scotland said:
"This is a historic day, a Food and Drink Business Improvement District established in East Lothian and my congratulations to East Lothian Food and Drink and East Lothian Council for working together and making this happen. This is probably the first Food and Drink BID in the world. This development shows the flexibility of the BIDs model in Scotland and I am looking forward to the next ground breaking BIDs development."
Source: BIDs Scotland