I spend a lot of my time working with partners on trying to deliver the services, infrastructure and growth that will meet the needs of our city for future generations.
One strong example of the benefits of this approach to working is the Greater Brighton Economic Board. This partnership of local authorities across our area (Brighton and Hove, Adur, Worthing, Lewes, Mid-Sussex and Crawley) alongside the other key economic organisations and educational bodies has now been established for five years, and its annual report makes a very clear case for continuing this approach for the benefit of all.
It is of course very clear that the city’s economy doesn’t stop at the city council’s own boundaries. Many residents work in neighbouring council areas, or conversely many people travel into the city to work, grow their businesses or learn. If we were to work in isolation then we would be ignoring their broad needs and desires, and be at risk of competing for limited funding that would benefit all areas. To imagine that all of our education, housing and employment needs can be delivered from within our borders would be an incredibly narrow and undeliverable approach.
Our Greater Brighton area has seen many great benefits from a shared cross party approach to securing investment and growth: £160m secured in local growth funding; £48m awarded from housing infrastructure funding; progress on building 18,000 homes; the creation of 24,000 jobs; unlocking £2bn of private sector investment.
For the future the Board also needs to address some of the most obvious barriers to an even stronger economy – housing, transport, digital infrastructure and harnessing the power of our creative and knowledge based industries.
As home to the only 5G digital test-bed outside a university campus in the country, we are already ahead of the curve in making our city region a key player in the economic benefits of the 21st century (and beyond), and we can all, each of us, hope to see the benefits within our neighbourhoods, communities and city region for many decades to come.
Cllr Daniel Yates is the Labour Leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.