The chief executive of business lobby group and networking club Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna, has called on Liverpool to create a Business Improvement District that covers the whole City Centre footprint.
McKenna’s comments come following the existing Retail BID winning an overwhelming majority of 66% of the business vote to continue to operate for a further five years.
The Downtown boss said:
“Both in the Retail and Commercial BID’s, we see on a daily basis the genuine value that is added from the work that is undertaken by the organisation.
“From street cleaning, to security; events to marketing, the Business Improvement Districts have provided a much- needed boost to Liverpool’s offer.
“I would now like to see businesses from across the whole City Centre given the opportunity of establishing a city-wide BID. Not only would this enable Liverpool to continue to market and promote the city effectively; but it also gives business a very direct say in what the priorities for the City Centre should be in the future.”
The city council and Liverpool city-region Combined Authority is currently exploring the option of a ‘hotel tax’ to support subvention spend on visitor economy promotion, but this is “challenging” and “somewhat unfair” according to McKenna.
“There is no legislation in place that allows the city to force hotels to place an extra tax on its resident’s bill. The fact is, any such proposal will be aggressively resisted by the UK hotel and tourist lobby and is unlikely to get support from central government.
“I’d also question why, when bars, restaurants, and other city attractions all benefit from extra visitor numbers, hotels should be the only sector to ‘pay’ an additional levy.
“I would argue that any additional resource should not simply be targeted at culture and events. The area where Liverpool needs to significantly up its game is in the commercial market. We need more businesses, more investors in the city. Hoteliers will tell you that their weekend trade is strong, but mid-week is difficult.
“That means a bigger Liverpool ‘sales team’, out there on the UK and international stage, selling brand Liverpool more effectively. I think a city-wide BID could positively contribute to that objective.”