Agenda item - Chair's Communications

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Agenda item

Chair's Communications


19.1      The Chair provided the following communications:


“It is hugely disappointing that no Local Authority in the city region was successful in round 2 of the Levelling Up fund. Five excellent projects were put forward from across Greater Brighton that would have generated huge benefits to those communities, and I share in the collective disappointment that none of these bids have been taken forward by Government.

Unfortunately, I think this illustrates once again that the entire government decision-making process for allocating funding is deeply flawed. It is an appalling waste of council resources and staff time and creates huge uncertainty.

The Levelling Up announcement comes at a time when council’s face extremely difficult decisions on their finances following years of council funding cuts, combined with unprecedented demand for our services, the highest inflation in a generation, the impact of a crippling pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

While the Government’s ambitions to level-up regional disparities across the UK is something I think we would all agree in principle, the key to achieving this is through greater fiscal devolution that provides certainty and allows us to plan spend over a long period. This would support regeneration in our areas and allow us to take an evidence-based approach to investment and regeneration that will result in the best return for the region’s citizens, businesses and wider economy.

These points were made by Brighton & Hove’s Chief Executive, Geoff Raw, to the Housing, Communities and Levelling Up Select Committee at the end of last year during an evidence session into their inquiry into Levelling Up funding.

Further coordinated representation to parliament and government on these matters should continue to be made so that the city region has a voice in the Levelling Up agenda. I would welcome a more grown-up relationship with Government, which would see greater fiscal devolution at a local and city region level so that we can take the decisive action needed.


What this latest announcement also demonstrates, and something we have discussed as a Board many times before, is the importance of not relying on Government support and to feel empowered to act where we can in moving forward with projects that support the city region economy and our transition to net zero.

With that in mind, I want to take the opportunity to highlight some of the work that is progressing and where the city region is already leading the way, through collaboration, pooled resources and partnership. This is especially true of our Net Zero work.


The Board is already making great progress on building resilience, sustainability and carbon reduction through the GB10 pledges. With officer support now in place, the next priority is to develop the Transition to Net Zero Action Plan, which will bring together all of the Board’s workstreams relating to climate change, sustainability and resilience into a coordinated action plan which will support the region transition to a net zero economy.

The next phase of the Greater Brighton Food Plan is progressing, with a tender exercise underway to commission specialist support to properly cost and develop investment plans for the city region food system. A Task & Finish Group has also been established to drive the Food System Transformation agenda, develop partnerships and align core work in this area, ultimately resulting in agreed investment plans for the city region food system.

The work of Hydrogen Sussex also continues at pace and I welcome the extremely positive engagement with the Hydrogen strategy from all partners and congratulate everyone involved with the progress made to date. We will be hearing more about the emerging strategy and route map later in the meeting.


Work is also progressing on the Creative Industries Strategy, a joint commission between Greater Brighton and Coastal West Sussex Partnership. Consultants were appointed at the end of last year and work has begun in earnest on the data gathering and stakeholder engagement aspects of the work.  Roundtable events with all Local Authorities and industry representatives will be taking place over the next month.

With the Creative Industries also identified by Government as having a significant role to play in the levelling up agenda, the strategy will enable us to strengthen the city region’s position and maximise existing and potential opportunities to unlock growth. A report is expected to be ready by the end of April and the strategy and delivery plan will cover the period 2023 – 2028”.


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