Brighton & Hove: Sustaining City Growth

Brighton & Hove has performed well over the past decade, adding nearly 23,000 jobs to its economy between 1998 and 2005 - twice the UK average for employment growth. But the city will need to be proactive if it is to return to strong economic growth after the recession.

Report published on 10 October 2009 by Centre for Cities

Brighton & Hove is a Partner City in the Centre for Cities research programme‘Unlocking City Potential and Sustaining City Growth’. The programme works closely with a small group of cities to inform economic development strategies and improve economic performance. This report sets out policy analysis and recommendations in response to three principal questions:

  • What have been the main drivers of growth in the Brighton economy and what is its key growth challenge?
  • How can Brighton support its digital media sector?
  • How can Brighton & Hove mitigate the effects of the recession and reduce barriers to work by further improving its employment and skills policies?

Key recommendations

  • Brighton & Hove needs to reach consensus on how to deliver the new development required for future economic growth. This is essential if the city is to meet its future infrastructure needs and achieve the social and economic goals set out in the Council’s Corporate Plan. This is a process that can only be led by the Administration, as the democratic representatives of the city, but should build on the strong partnerships that have already been developed.
  • The city’s digital media sector is a valuable economic driver that needs to be supported. The key challenge is to deliver suitable workspace that supports the emerging ‘creative quarter’ in the city centre. Increased funding for Wired Sussex – the business-led body for local digital media firms – would also help to improve performance by better supporting business retention and inward investment.
  • Brighton & Hove’s worklessness challenges will only be exacerbated by the recession. The Council should extend and strengthen the use of Local Employment Partnerships and increase targeted marketing of skills programmes. They should also prepare for the devolution of 14-19 skills funding and the introduction of the new 19+ skills infrastructure in 2010. Building the relevant networks in new agencies and formulating project proposals in advance will help partners in Brighton & Hove adjust to these changes quickly and maximise the funding they are able to draw down.