Brighton & Hove is still largely a City Region of potential, rather than of achievement. It now has one of the best-qualified resident populations in England, but its productivity per worker, although much improved, is still modest compared to the South-East average. It has one of the highest business density rates in England, but output per business is poor, reflecting its historic reliance on local markets and low value sectors of the economy.
In 1999, productivity (measured by Gross Value Added per head of population) was £12,634 - similar to Liverpool (£12,748) and Walsall & Wolverhampton (£12,155), whilst claimant count unemployment (5.2%) was comparable to Doncaster (5.3%) and Rotherham (5.3%). By the end of the last decade, GVA per head (£20,611) had grown faster than any other urban NUTS area outside London; however it is still below the South East average.
In 2012 Brighton had the 7th highest rateable value for commercial stock of all UK cities at £123 per sqm. The government’s removal of local planning policies controlling the conversion of office space to residential is likely to lead to some level of erosion of commercial office stock.
The need to maximise the available employment land and commercial premises, increase productivity, grow knowledge intensive sectors and generate jobs is therefore a priority for the city.
The Economic Strategy and the City Deal support the development of a series of ‘growth hubs’ across the City Region that will be the focus for targeted business support and infrastructure investment. This will help to build strong and sustainable business clusters that in turn will lead to sustainable employment and jobs growth.
Sub-National GVA Table 3.2 ONS
 Source: DWP Claimant Count via NOMISWEB (Note: Shown s a % of the working age resident population. Figures for March 1999).