The new chairman of Greater Brighton is urging government ministers to visit the City Region and provide the resources to help this part of the UK unleash its economic potential.
With the Prime Minister promising to help all corners of Britain boost productivity, Councillor Daniel Humphreys has written to secretaries of states in five Whitehall departments pressing the case for investment in the south east.
Within his letters, the Greater Brighton chairman highlighted the great strides already made by the City Region, securing more than £160 million of funding which has unlocked £2 billion of private investment.
However, he warned that the region was often overlooked – meaning key obstacles to growing the economy, such as transport, housing and low productivity, remained in place.
With extra support, funding and levers, Cllr Humphreys claims the City Region will be able to deliver quickly on its one aim: to bring jobs and prosperity to the area which covers much of the Sussex coast, from Brighton north to Gatwick.
Cllr Humphreys, who is also Leader of Worthing Borough Council, writes: “The Prime Minister in his first speech in Downing Street outlined his desire to unleash productivity in every corner of the United Kingdom.
“I commend the Prime Minister for this ambition, however it should not be assumed all parts of the South East are realising their full potential.
“In Greater Brighton we have our challenges, such as low productivity, housing, affordability, a lack of commercial space, congested transport infrastructure and pockets of low skills.”
He adds: “The needs of our region are often overlooked. However, given access to the right levers and the support from the Government we can realise your ambitions to deliver the housing, inward investment, transport and digital infrastructure the region needs and strengthen our economy.
“We want to build on successful public and private investment into the City Region. With support we could achieve results better and faster, not just for the benefit of the City Region but the wider benefit of the south east economy and the UK as a whole.”
The letters were sent to the Department for International Trade; Department for Transport; Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
As well as making the case for new powers and investment, Cllr Humphreys also explained more of the work of the Greater Brighton board, which is currently made up of six local authorities of different political persuasions, businesses, two universities and a growing international airport.
Recently it agreed a new five year plan which outlines the ambition to become a City Region which is international, creative, connected, talented and resilient.
Cllr Humphreys said: “The City Region is an outstanding and inclusive environment in which to live, work, learn and visit; comprising of historic market towns, the UK’s second largest airport , two world-class universities, a Premier League football club and iconic cultural assets.
“We work collaboratively to maximise opportunities to ensure that Greater Brighton is able to fulfil its full economic potential and support the growth and prosperity of the wider south east economy.
“Partners have secured more than £160 million in Local Growth Funding which is unlocking £2 billion of private sector investment and will deliver 18,000 new homes, 750,000m2 of employment floor-space and create 24,000 jobs.”
He ended the letters with an invite for the Secretary of States to visit adding it would be a chance to “see first-hand the excellent work we are doing and how by working closely together we can overcome the challenges we need to address”.