Brighton & Hove’s challenges are set out in its new Economic Strategy 2013 – 2018 and the City Employment and Skills Plan (2011-2014). The city’s economic strategy balances the need for economic growth with a commitment to developing a low carbon economy, based on the ten principles for One Planet Living.
Brighton & Hove has emerged strongly from being a low value coastal economy, but it has yet to make the transition into a high performing one. It needs to champion greater ambition; provide a better mix of quality accommodation and embed its universities into the fabric of its economy, so that it can develop and retain the right talent and commercialise its expertise.
Its strengths lie largely in its creativity and how it can apply this effectively to support economic growth. According to the strategy, “the sectors that most stakeholders consider to be important to the city’s economy are culture, leisure and tourism, and creative, digital and IT (CDIT)”.
The CDIT (Creative, Digital and IT) sector is now recognised in Government circles as important to the future of the city economy. It has seen double-digit employment growth in recent years, is strongly export-oriented and the clustering that has occurred in the city is proving to be self-sustaining. The sector is on the cusp of becoming mature. However, its businesses need access to better premises and technical skills and models of innovation support that focus on strengthening knowledge exchange networks and collaboration.
The route to a greener and more sustainable economy may be through better engagement with our neighbours and through growth in low carbon sectors such as CDIT, the Environmental Industries and the wider knowledge economy.
There is also a clear message within the strategy that economic development and business growth cannot be delivered within the constraints of tight administrative boundaries or by the public sector alone. Approaches should be outward-looking, based on close collaboration with neighbours within our ‘functional economic area’, and with the private sector in the driving seat.
Brighton & Hove is part of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership [LEP], which also includes Croydon, West Sussex, the Gatwick Diamond and Lewes District. The LEP is in the process of developing a Strategic Economic Plan which will set the priorities for the sub-region and help lever public and private sector investment into projects and activities that drive economic growth
Alongside this, the Government is entering into a series of ‘City Deals’ with England’s major cities. These are based on City Regions, centering on the main urban areas, but incorporating neighbouring local authorities. Brighton & Hove, along with Lewes, Mid Sussex and Adur & Worthing have developed joint proposals for a Greater Brighton City Deal Agreement that will complete its negotiations with the Government in early summer 2014.
The Greater Brighton City Deal focuses on business and jobs growth through specific creative and innovation hubs located across the patch through which businesses will access intensive support to help them grow find new markets and create jobs.
The Economic Strategy highlights work currently underway within the LEP Strategic Growth Plan and the Greater Brighton City Deal proposals as helping to drive its strategic ambitions.
Five Strategic Priorities have been identified that, if delivered, will help the City to realise its economic development ambitions.
- SO1: To enhance Brighton & Hove’s distinctive destination and lifestyle offer
- SO2: To grow quality jobs and business opportunities in higher value and lower carbon sectors
- SO3: To better align jobs skills to projected needs and in support of higher value sectors
- SO4: To tackle barriers to employment and to create employment opportunities for all
- SO5: To establish a strong and influential Greater Brighton City Region.