Agenda item - Chair's Communications
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4.1 The Chair provided the following communications:
Transition to net zero work
· The Board already making great progress on building resilience, sustainability and carbon reduction - energy and water plans, GB 10 pledges agreed in 2020.
· The next priority is to develop the Blue/Green Investment Plan, which would include a co-ordinated pipeline of investment projects that support transitioning the city region to a net zero economy. It would form the strategic narrative and each of the projects in the pipeline would have an outline business case in readiness to pitch for investment. It would also act as our pitch to central government.
· We will provide strong support the work of Hydrogen Sussex, which continues to raise the profile of our City region and wider Sussex area.
· We have also started work on looking at food across the City Region. The results of a food scoping exercise will be presented today and I hope this will lead to the development of a regional food strategy as we look to ensure the supply of food for our residents is secure, sustainable and affordable.
· The cost-of-living crisis that the country is grappling with has made the affordability element even more of a priority. It has become urgent and we must act now. Not only with regards food, but with our wider net zero plans, as delivering on our energy and water plans will also make energy and water more affordable for our residents.
· Government has set out its ambitions to level-up the regional disparities across the UK. Officers across the City Region have been working hard to develop Investment Plans for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and these will be submitted to Government in the coming weeks.
· Once submitted we will explore the shared priorities across the Plans and look to collaborate across local authorities when deploying interventions beyond boundaries would result in improved outcomes.
· Some of our Local Authorities have also been preparing bids for Round 2 of the Levelling-up Fund. These innovative bids propose interventions that will level-up within local authority areas, and they have my full support.
· Devolving powers and resources away from central government is a key theme within the levelling up agenda.
· Since achieving the City Deal in 2014, Greater Brighton partners have really seized the opportunity to show leadership and a collaborative approach to tacking the key challenges facing the city region, some of which I have already mentioned. We have shown we can deliver and will continue to do so.
· Government sees transitioning to a low carbon as a key driver in levelling-up the UK, and the work we are doing on our own journey to net zero places us very much on the front-foot. By working with Greater Brighton, Government can start to realise its ambitions and deliver on its promises, and we will present a strong case for investment in our region.
· Under the levelling up agenda there may be an opportunity to seek extended devolution powers for the city region. Discussions with partners will need to follow.
· The creative industries sector is crucial to the success of our city region economy. Like transitioning to a low carbon economy, the creative industries have been identified by Government as having a significant role to play in the levelling up agenda.
· Our sector strengths put us in s strong position, but the sector needs support to identify opportunities for the entire city region and for it to achieve its true potential.
· To that end, in April this Board agrees to support development of a Creative Industries Strategy for 2022-25. Against the dual backdrop of Government starting to roll out it’s levelling up plans, and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s essential that we move ahead at pace with this work.
· The new website is now live and contains all our new design language.
· The work on both is a collaboration between the Communication Team, GBEB Business Managers and two creative companies based within the City Region.
· The new look branding and website are refreshing and re-energising. I think they can help us reset Greater Brighton as we embark on a new period focusing on the transition to net zero work, supporting our creative industries and renewing our inward investment efforts.
· The new Greater Brighton brand is beautifully simple but is also full of activity. Is meant to crackle with purpose, and says we are serious about our work but playful and dynamic. By emphasising the ON of Greater Brighton it says simply that we are ‘on it’, ready to move quickly to respond to the challenges of the day and, importantly, ready to meet the requirements of those who would come to invest time, money and lives here.
· Inward investment with both brand and website is a key part of our function and no serious organisation can do this without the right branding. It is not just a nice add-on - it is central to what we do and who we are.
· Coast to Capital took a pause from Board membership earlier this year, but I am pleased to report that our LEP colleagues are keen to once again play an integral role in this Board, and we very much look forward to welcoming them back at our next meeting in October.