Aberdeen Inspired has requested approval to delay the statutory ballot process due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and closures.

In line with Scotland’s other BIDs (Business Improvement Districts), Aberdeen Inspired must ballot businesses within the BID footprint every five years to secure a mandate to operate.

The ballot, due to commence on March 25, is likely to be postponed to May 13. Eligible businesses, which pay an annual levy based on a rateable value of more than £27,500, have until June 24 to vote.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “It is unfortunate that we are required to go to ballot this year when city centre businesses are being challenged like never before.

“A ballot this month would not only have been difficult to run but also an unnecessary distraction at this time of unprecedented circumstances for our levy-payers, many of whom are fighting for their very survival. Holding the ballot in May, while still not ideal, will be better timing as city centre businesses should be re-opening and market conditions improving.

“In acknowledging the current environment and thanks to prudent management of our budgets, we have been able to halve the levy for the current year which has been welcomed by levy payers. In addition, levy-payers will not pay for the 12 week extension period.

“We will shortly be publishing our business plan for the next five years which will demonstrate how we intend to help the city centre on the road to recovery through reinvention and revival.

“Aberdeen Inspired has remained a steadfastly vocal and unified force for the welfare and fortunes of our city centre and will be required more than ever as we embark on the road to recovery post-COVID. In addition to enhancing the city centre’s look and feel for the benefit of our levy payers, the BID supports hundreds of micro and small independent businesses who make up the diverse and vibrant city centre experience and employ hundreds of local people."

Aberdeen Inspired was established to attract, sustain and boost investment in Aberdeen’s city centre for the benefit of its levy payers and all those who live, work, shop and visit there. In addition to the levy payments, which go to support city centre improvements and initiatives, the BID brought in an additional £2million in other funding in 2020, almost double what is collected by the levy and which would otherwise not have been available to invest in the city centre.