A leading figure in Aberdeen’s business sector has thrown his weight behind Aberdeen Inspired’s Back the BID campaign, urging city centre businesses to vote in favour of retaining the Business Improvement District.

Martin Gilbert, former CEO of Aberdeen Standard Investments, is the latest business leader to add their voice to the campaign, which was launched this week, saying the importance of the city centre cannot be underestimated.

In line with Scotland’s other BIDs, Aberdeen Inspired must ballot the businesses within the BID footprint every five years.

A successful ballot on June 24 will ensure it can continue working on behalf of local shops, bars, restaurants, property owners, landlords, shopping centres and all other city centre businesses until at least 2026.

Martin Gilbert said retaining the BID is vital to support the future success of the city and its people.

“We cannot underestimate the importance that Aberdeen city centre holds to the wider city and region,” he said. “It provides employment for many thousands and its state of health is often taken as a measure of the wider north-east economic well-being.

“As a proud Aberdonian, I naturally want to see our city centre thrive, but this will require even more of a focus by the private and public sectors to effectively work together through the demanding period that lies ahead. 

“Aberdeen Inspired has already demonstrated the value it brings to the heart of our city and moving forward it has a crucial role in bringing about the required change.”

Following approval of a short extension amid the Covid-19 restrictions, which have seen many businesses forced to close, the vote opens today (Thursday, May 13).

Eligible businesses have until 5pm on June 24 to have their say.

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 levy. An achievement that would not have been possible without Aberdeen Inspired, it means that for every £1 of levy collected, at least £2 is invested in the city centre.

The average levy equates to around £5 per week - at just 1% of rateable value, it is the lowest in the country, compared to the highest at 3% in some other towns and cities.

In recognition of the challenging times faced by businesses as a result of the pandemic, the levy in Aberdeen would be reduced by half in the first term (2021-22), dropping to just 0.5% of rateable value for the first year. 

The BID footprint covers Union Street and the surrounding streets, including Broad Street, Market Street, Bridge Street, Huntly Street and Holburn Junction.

For more information, visit www.aberdeeninspired.com