Agenda item - Chair's Communications
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19.1 The Chair provided the following communications:
“I would like to welcome Claudia Raistrick to her first Board meeting. Claudia is the new Business Manager joining Andy on the Greater Brighton Support Team and started her new role only yesterday. In addition to Claudia, Amber Sheppard will be starting as Programme Support Officer at the start of next month, so the Support Team will be at full strength as we head into this year.
Congratulations to Lewes District Council who have secured just over £5million of in principle funding from the Future High Streets Fund to help re-imagine Newhaven town centre – as was presented to this Board last spring. It is a little bit less than their bid, but I understand that the Newhaven submission was one of the strongest in the country and is a fantastic achievement. Colleagues at Lewes will now be revising their bid in-line with the funding award and I look forward to seeing work start later this year.
On 31 December the UK left the European Union with an agreed Trade Deal. Whilst this provides businesses with some certainty around the new trading environment, there is still a need to provide businesses support so that they can understand and adapt to the new regulations. Greater Brighton Partners are working hard to support business through this transition.
Last week the Communities Secretary announced that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the £4bn levelling up fund - both intended to replace current EU funding - will have “localism and local government at their heart”, and that prospectuses for the levelling up fund will be published within weeks. We are pleased that Government are moving to replace the EU funding streams, and that Government are looking to work with regions and local authorities. We look forward to working with Government to make the strongest possible case for investment in our region, and to ensure the correct interventions are made to address the local challenges that we have.
Following the publication of their transport strategy, Transport for the South East (TfSE) are embarking on a programme of five area studies.
Each area study focuses on a designated transport corridor, linking major economic hubs and international gateways. One of the studies focuses on the south-central strip of our the TfSE area, which covers the Greater Brighton City Region. The South Central Area Study Forum has been established to inform this work and will first meet next month. As a key regional stakeholder, the Board will be represented on the Forum, and we look forward to working with TfSE and regional colleagues to identify interventions for inclusion within TfSE’s forthcoming Strategic Investment Plan.
Last week the Government published “Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth”. The White Paper sets out how Government intends to reform further education, with the main aims being increasing productivity, supporting growth industries, and giving individuals opportunities to progress in their careers. The Paper states that reforms will put employers at the heart of the system so that education and training leads to jobs that can improve productivity and fill skills gaps. There is also a clear intention from Government to invest in higher-level technical qualifications that provide a valuable alternative to a university degree. We will examine the paper in more detail to understand the opportunities it presents for our City Region and look forward to more information from Government over the coming months”.