“Anyone in the South East watching today’s budget announcement could not help but feel a sense of Déjà Vu. In yet another anticlimactic moment for our region, the Chancellor was seemingly keen to namedrop as many Yorkshire and Midlands towns as possible, from Doncaster to Leeds to Leicester, as he ploughed on with the Government’s levelling up agenda.

“There was some positive news around skills and innovation, a boost for adult numeracy and increased funding for apprenticeships and education providers. The £20bn investment in research and development also feels timely and appropriate.

“But the woes of our region – with its pockets of poverty despite its proximity to London – continued to be overlooked as, announcing a £5.7bn fund for transport, the Chancellor mentioned every region in England except the South East.

“The best news for Coastal West Sussex in this budget? Our local vineyards and pubs will benefit from lower duties for sparkling wine and draft beer and cider. So, if today’s budget was a disappointment, we can at least drown our sorrows in some of our fantastic local English Sparkling Wines. Hopefully, some of that adult numeracy funding makes its way to our region, so we can calculate how much we’ve saved.”

James Dempster, Vice Chairman, Coastal West Sussex Partnership