LEVY payments to Stirling's business improvement district have been cut by half to help companies hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Go Forth Stirling BID said it will only charge traders 50 per cent of the usual fee for the 2019-20 financial year, one of a handful of such organisations to make the move.

It comes after levy payments were suspended when the pandemic first hit.

Danielle McRorie-Smith, project director at Go Forth Stirling, said: “We are proud to be one of very few BIDs who have taken the decision to discount the 2019-2020 levy fee by 50 per cent.

“It’s another way we can help our traders who have been hit hard by the pandemic and we think it’s the right approach to take.

“The BID does need an income in order to carry out its operations and if a business wants to pay the levy in full they can still do that - but we will also be looking into other sources of funding.”

The BID's financial year runs from September 1 to August 31 and just recently started its fourth year of operation.

Ms McRorie-Smith added: “As we went into lockdown in March, we quickly realised it was not in the best interests of Stirling city centre traders to make their levy payments at that time so we decided to suspend them for six months.

“We’ve now gone further by halving the levy for the year while at the same time actually increasing the number of services we offer to Stirling’s businesses.

“Everything we have done has been aimed at helping them survive the pandemic and come out the other side with a thriving business.

“We believe we’ve been successful in the support we’ve provided and have received some incredibly positive feedback from businesses who’ve seen us as something of a lifeline during difficult times.

“We recently sent out a survey to BID members and were pleased with the responses which showed members are very satisfied with the support provided by Go Forth Stirling and aware of the measures we have put in place.

“We were determined to be there for our businesses and have fulfilled that role to the best of our ability.”