An in-depth study is being prepared into how Greater Brighton can help limit the impact on the region’s businesses from the UK’s economic turbulence.

The Institute of Employment Studies (IES), a leading Brighton-based national centre of research into employment, has been commissioned to examine how rising costs, increasing interest rates and ongoing financial uncertainty are affecting companies in the area.

It will also identify key steps that could be taken by Greater Brighton and its partners to help protect the local economy.

Greater Brighton partners, including Brighton Business Improvement District, have been lobbying the Government to urge it to support businesses as part of the #BusinessSOS campaign.

Among the requests are a suspension until March 2023 of business rates, a reduction in general VAT from 20% to 12.5%, and a reduction on the VAT payable on energy used by business from 20% to 5% to match the rate paid by households.

The study will examine how the cost-of-living crisis is affecting different demographic groups, sectors and occupations in each area of Greater Brighton, including an analysis of how many residents receive Universal Credit or other benefits.

IES will work with each of the local authorities in Greater Brighton to identify what they have done and are doing on the issue. It will also speak to members of the business community to explore what their current and future concerns and challenges are.

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, the chair of Greater Brighton Economic Board, said:

“We are acting as urgently as we can to help local businesses survive another period of turbulence. But a key part of this is first understanding exactly what we can do that will work in the long term.

“This study will give us the firm foundations on which we can make informed decisions and build plans to support business.

“We also want to make really clear that central government has to do much, much more to help businesses to help themselves, to prevent micro and small businesses in particular from collapsing under these severe economic challenges.”

The Greater Brighton city region covers 7 local authority areas, stretching from Bognor in the west to Seaford in the east, and up to Crawley in the north of Sussex. Greater Brighton Economic Board was formed in 2014 to protect and grow the city region’s economy through creative, innovative initiatives which coordinate economic development activities and investment.

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