The demise of town centres is a familiar tale. Generally the story features: The economic downturn in 2008 and symbolic store closures like Woolworths, etc The exponential growth in online shopping. The inability of the high street to adapt to changing consumer habits. How the high street is dead. In almost all cases, including a variety of government reviews, little attention is placed on the businesses who, as much as the buildings, shape how vibrant or successful these places are. This fixation with physical regeneration - and the lack of results it produces - is something we’ve been shouting about for some time. It’s also at the heart of our manifesto call for more local, resilient economies. There is no magic wand to turn around struggling town centres, but as we argued at a session we chaired in Perth, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are part of the solution. These opaquely named bodies aren’t without their critics in the small business community, however BIDs are delivered and paid for by business and can be kicked out in an election if they don’t perform. It’s why we’re calling on the Scottish Government to review BIDs with a view to giving them a greater role in their communities. In practice this could mean managing services such as car parks, public toilets or street maintenance on behalf of local government, with all revenues being invested back into towns. Could small, local businesses save towns? Let’s find out. You may also like 08 January 2019 Veganuary: growing market for businesses to dine out on meat-free boom 07 January 2019 Make wellbeing a priority in 2019 24 December 2018 Five hacks for small business finances 26 June 2017 How do we replicate the success of the Borders Railway? 28 February 2017 Northern Ireland's political party leaders send direct messages to FSB members. 06 June 2016 The smallest firms need protected too!