Greater Brighton City Deal Signed

From The Argus:

Prime Minister David Cameron has given his backing to the Greater Brighton City Deal, which could see £170 million of investment into Sussex and the creation of 8,500 jobs, with a special boost for the digital sector.

The deal could benefit 600,000 people across Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Mid Sussex, Adur and Worthing.

A council spokeswoman said this would turn the area into “one of the highest performing urban economies in the UK operating on an international stage.”

Other plans as part of the deal include:

  • A regional programme of business support, developed in conjunction with companies in the area to help them access networks, advice and other support
  • A new Central Research Laboratory at Preston Barracks to support start-up businesses linked to university research, which will create 740 new jobs
  • A ‘Digital Exchange’ at New England House to provide ultrafast broadband to small businesses at affordable prices
  • The expansion of the successful ‘Fusebox’ scheme, a start-up space for small creative digital companies
  • Clean and environmental technology centres at Newhaven and Shoreham, as well as flood defence funding for those sites, creating 6700 new jobs in the area.

The deal has been unveiled by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Minister for Cities Greg Clark, and will be signed at New England House in Brighton today by Mr Clark, council leaders and the local enterprise partnership.

The £170 million of investment consists of £6.7 million from central government, £9.8 million from the local public sector and at least £155 million of private investment.

The deal will give Brighton and Hove the chance to compete with other major tech clusters around the world by creating a digital exchange in the heart of the city, where companies collaborate to use combined buying power to get faster broadband at lower prices, the Deputy Prime Minister’s office said.

It will also help flood defence work, regeneration and employment at sites in Shoreham, West Sussex, and Newhaven, East Sussex.

Mr Cameron said: “Today’s City Deal is great for Brighton, growing and harnessing the digital and creative skills that the city is rightly renowned for.

“With more power and freedom to run the local economy in the way they see fit, local people will be able to make decisions that directly benefit Brighton’s businesses.

“By supporting new and innovative businesses, Brighton’s deal will help us secure the nation’s recovery and deliver our long term economic plan.”

Mr Clark added: “Brighton’s tech cluster has grown from very little 10 years ago to having 1,500 businesses today.

“It’s already making a huge impact on Brighton’s economic performance, and this City Deal will help accelerate its growth by ensuring that it can provide the space and infrastructure for high-value creative-technological businesses to grow. It can help turn Brighton into one of the most prosperous cities in the UK.”

Jason Kitcat, Brighton and Hove City Council leader, said the deal was an exciting journey which would allow more power and responsibility within the city region.

The Greater Brighton area is one of 20 cities that was identified in the second wave of City Deals.

A large part of the investment will go to revamping New England House and developing a network of university-backed growth centres to encourage new enterprises.