A NUMBER of businesses are reportedly refusing to pay a levy on business rates according to a letter written to Barrow Borough Council.

A spokesman for Barrow BID Concerned Ratepayers (BBCR) has claimed more than 80 businesses have signed a letter refusing to pay the upcoming BID levy.

A BID levy is used to develop projects which will benefit businesses in the local area.

There is no limit on what projects or services can be provided through a Business Improvement District.

The only requirement is it should be something that is in addition to services provided by local authorities.

If BID levy is not paid by the specified due dates, the BID can take further steps including legal action to ensure payment.

A letter sent to Barrow Council on Monday, reportedly signed by over 80 members of the BBCR said: “I am writing to request any court papers you wish to send be listed for the same day for the members of the BBCR.

“We request this action be taken to not only to keep the cost down but also the time the courts have to spend on this. We intend to dispute the levy in its entirety as well as the local authorities right to collect a bill for a third party company."

A spokesman for the BBCR said: “We have made a number of requests for information which have been denied.

“We have also highlighted a number of issues we have found which make the BID null and void but yet we again have been dismissed.

“This is now why we intend to provide this evidence in an open court should the council pursue our members.

“The members of the BBCR had a vote and each and every member said they will not pay.

"We feel the BID is not a BID but a private company which the council is acting as a debt collector for which is illegal.”

Barrow Borough Council responded to the letter, a spokesman said in writing: “The council does not discuss third party matters without their specific authority and the council follows due process with regards to collection of any unpaid levies.

“As a general response if bills are unpaid then a summons will be issued in accordance with The non-domestic Regulations 1989 as amended by the Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004.”

Barrow BID was voted in at ballot by the town centre businesses in 2016. The next ballot is in 2021. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, BIDs across the country have changed the payment due date for the next levy payments to January 15 2021.