LEVY payments have been scrapped for smaller businesses in Stirling, the town centre's business improvement district announced.

Go Forth Stirling Business Improvement District (BID) announced it has scrapped this year's levy payment to help those badly hit by coronavirus restrictions.

It means that any company within the BID area with a rateable value below £51,000 will not be charged their fee for 2020-21 – amounting to 461 businesses.

The remainder of the city's 143 companies - which include Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, McDonald's and more – will be billed in full for the year.

Danielle McRorie-Smith, Go Forth Stirling project director, said: “Stirling has many small independent businesses who have been hard hit financially by the Tier 4 and lockdown trading restrictions and we want to support them as best we can.

“We felt the best way of doing this was to scrap the 2020-21 levy payment for those businesses with a rateable value under £51,000 while still maintaining some income by charging larger retailers who are above that threshold as usual.

“Also, the majority of these larger businesses actually have a 50 per cent credit already on their accounts because they paid the 2019-20 levy in full.”

She added: “Despite our drop in income last year, we have been able to continue to offer a great package of assistance for Stirling businesses thanks to grants from organisations like Scotland’s Towns Partnerships and ongoing support from Stirling Council.

“We have budgeted carefully for the year ahead and will apply for more grants and government support to ensure our comprehensive assistance and level of service continues at a time when our businesses need it most.”

Meanwhile, Stirling business owners are invited to an online Annual Levy Payers’ Meeting next month.

The virtual event, on Thursday March 11, will give members the chance to hear from the Go Forth team and its board and have the opportunity to shape the direction of the BID as it sets out plans for the next five-year term.

A ballot among city traders will take place next Spring with the second BID term beginning in September 2022 if successful.