A business scheme which could generate up to £2.5 million of investment is under threat.

As part of Government cuts, Brighton and Hove City Council has lost the money earmarked for the Business Improvement District (Bid).

The Bid, which currently covers most of The Lanes and North Laine, funds services such as security and marketing. Council officers and business leaders are now looking to other public and private backers to ensure the scheme continues.

City centre manager Soozie Campbell said: “The current Bid has made real improvements to the area it covers and we want to see it continue.

“Not many people know it is businesses that pay for a lot of things in the city centre, including the Christmas lights.

“But without this money it cannot continue. Quite simply there will be no Christmas lights.”

A survey asking businesses if they wanted to renew the scheme when it expires in June 2011 was planned for spring and would have cost £75,000.

It was to be funded jointly by the economic partnership, Churchill Square and the local authority. The city’s business forum believes up to £2.5m could be raised if the current zone is expanded to a wider city centre area.

The news of the withdrawal, which is part the £3.5 million Government cuts to the council’s 2010/11 budget, was relayed to traders at the St James’s Area Action Group meeting.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We have no power over Government cuts but we are looking into every possible avenue to ensure the Bid can continue.”