Hotels in Birmingham are being urged to set up and pay into a new umbrella group to make up for cuts to multi-million pound budgets to market the city.

Birmingham City Council officers are considering plans to set up a hotel business improvement district to raise a levy which will be used to attract, promote and subsidise major events, such as political party conferences or sporting championships.

The the council currently funds Marketing Birmingham to the tune of £4.4 million per year, but is under pressure to cut non-statutory spending.

"How we pay for sport, arts and leisure and the big events in future is a big problem for us," said council deputy leader Ian Ward.

"We are looking to set up a business improvement district to bring hotels together.

"They could then be asked to make a contribution towards those events which fill up hotel bedrooms.

The plan is very much in the embryonic stage indeed some city centre hotelliers are not yet aware of it although the Birmingham Post understands that a number of hotel chains have been approached and are open to the suggestion.

The funds raised would be used to make up a widening gap in the Marketing Birmingham budget and in return the hotel group would take a greater say in how that budget was spent.

The councils Labour leader Sir Albert Bore recently cut the £1.5 million subsidy, or subvention, to encourage political parties to hold their annual conferences at the ICC.

He has been criticised by opposition leaders for discouraging what is seen as a moneyspinner for the city centre economy.

In future it may be that hotels, which are full during party conferences, could reinstate that subsidy through their group.

Although business improvement districts (BIDs) have to be set up around a geographical area, it is thought the Government may be open to similar organisations being established surrounding an industry or trade with hotels and ideal example.

Several hotels are already members of BIDs in the city centre including the Broad Street, Colmore and the Jewellery Quarter BIDs and pay a levy on top of their business rates to buy added services or improvements.

Hilary Hall, chief executive of MARCHE the Midland Association for Restaurants, Hotels and Entertainment, which is helping hotels in the work to set up a new organisation said the process was more complicated in the West Midlands because of the number of BIDs already set up.

She said: "There are some points of legislation that are still in the process of going through. Theres two things at the moment a BID can only be within a single boundary and secondly currently a T-BID cant be anywhere where there is already a BID in place.

She added: "In order to get enough money for it to be worth doing it would have to include Birmingham and Solihull. Birmingham is the BID capital of Britain there are 10 BIDs already.

Ms Hall said plans were still being worked up and it was not clear whether payment would be based on business rates, occupancy or revenue per available room.

She added: "The majority of hotel managers understand and appreciate that resources are generally less everywhere and it is reasonable that they should contribute to driving business into the area.

"Equally there are clusters of hotels in the city centre that think 1m a night would be a good investment if it means a big conference coming to the city, but it is more difficult for hotels five or 10 miles out.

Both Labour council leader Sir Albert Bore, and the Liberal Democrat former council deputy leader Paul Tilsley have previously argued that Birmingham should have the power to introduce a bed tax on hotel rooms charging say £1 or £2 a room a night to generate income to promote tourism.

And under the Governments new localism agenda and city deals it seems that some councils may be given the power to raise new taxes and charges and it is hoped a bed tax might be allowed under this.

Several hoteliers approached by the Post were unaware of the proposal.

One hotel manager, who asked not to be named, was critical of the efforts of Marketing Birmingham and degree of engagement with the city council on tourism policy.

For him the chance to have a greater say in marketing the city may be a welcome development.