Questions over future of business improvement company (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Leytonstone's E11 Business Improvement District Company is over £40,000 in debt and has been criticised for being ineffective
The future of a business improvement partnership is in doubt after a meeting revealed discontent among business owners about how it is being run.
Management of the E11 Business Improvement District Company (BID), a company set up in in 2008, was criticised as ineffective and poorly managed, resulting in debts of over £40,000.
Audit reports of the financial years ending in 2010 and 2011 showed that accounting records were kept in a haphazard manner and that income tax and national insurance were being deducted from employee’s wages but not being passed to Revenue & Customs.
It was revealed that the BID’s chairman, Fawaad Shaikh, and council officers had been in negotiations for two years over body’s financial health.
The council has not collected this year’s levy, fearing it would be irresponsible to do so.
Council officers believe it will take at least a year to clear the debts.
Business owners pay a contribution to the BID based on the value of their businesses, with Tesco paying a reported £17,000 per year while smaller operations pay on average £100.
The company is reported to turn over around £55,000 per year and receives some public funds for services.
Business owners were divided over the potential future of the E11 BID Company.
Some said they thought it should be wound up and restarted, while others claimed it had benefitted their businesses.
One said it would be the first BID in the country to fail, were it to do so.
BIDs are partnerships between local authorities and businesses.
Council representatives said a decision about the BIDs future would likely be made in the next few weeks.
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