Intelligent transport, better digital infrastructure, living wage housing and the promise of a seamless educational pathway for all young people into education, training and employment are at the heart of Greater Brighton’s bid to become a devolved city region. Over the next 10 years the Greater Brighton Devolution Deal will generate 24,000 jobs, 455,000sqm of employment space and 22,500 new homes.
Today, the Greater Brighton Economic Board, which already has a strong track record of working together and making things happen, has submitted its Devolution Prospectus to the Secretary State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, asking for more powers for the region.
The Board, established in March 2014, brings together five local authorities – Adur, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Mid-Sussex and Worthing with the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, four further education colleges, three business partnerships, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and the South Downs National Park Authority.
Neil Parkin, Chair of the Greater Brighton Economic Board and Leader of Adur District Council, said:
“This devolution submission is the start of a longer dialogue with the Government, leading with an absolutely clear focus on three key areas; economic, social and public service productivity.
“As a united Board, we see these as key to unlocking the use of our assets – whether those are land and property, intellectual assets in our education and skills system or in ensuring open governance that clearly supports enterprise.
“Devolved powers from Central Government would allow us to build on the firm foundation established by the City Deal, strengthening the Greater Brighton Economic Region’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest through delivering key strategic projects across the next five to ten years.”
Key proposals for a devolved Greater Brighton include:
- Delivering an Intelligent Transport Network that supports businesses and individuals across the region, including a high speed connection with London and Gatwick, and improving links to growth sites such as Burgess Hill, Newhaven and Shoreham Harbour.
- Creating an Educational and Skills Promise that will ensure all our young people have equal access to education, training and employment opportunities and providing our businesses with the skills they need for growth.
- Living Wage Housing: ensuring that our housing mix meets the changing demands of our citizens across our diverse area.
- Pioneering public sector reform: working with our partners and neighbours to achieve economies of scale, radically rethinking the role of the public sector and moving toward a model of government as networker, champion and shaper of new social models;
- Creating a digital infrastructure that offers superfast connections for every business and resident and pioneering new technologies including becoming the UK’s 5G demonstrator region.
- Growing the Information Economy through the creation of new digital business models in both the public and private sector to create a centre of excellence around ‘government as a platform’ through the Greater Brighton Local Government Digital Service.
Ron Crank, Chief Executive of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, said:
“Coast to Capital welcomes this further development of the Greater Brighton City Region. It will build on the many successes of the Greater Brighton City Deal and the Coast to Capital Growth Deal and will make a further contribution to increasing growth and productivity in our area. We support greater devolution of decision making to local level and believe business should have a full part to play in how we together drive growth”.
Andrew Swayne, Chair of the Adur & Worthing Business Partnership, said:
”Platforms to Productivity is a key step in developing Greater Brighton’s path to taking more responsibility for what it does and delivering better value from public funds. Rapid progress in the devolution agenda will enable us to have better transport and digital infrastructure, local focus on skills development leading to our residents becoming more economically active. I am particularly pleased to see a focus on STEM across the age range and empowering our most troubled families to be economically active. I hope Government supports the approach and enables us to move rapidly to detailed negotiations – we have the capability – let us use it!”