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News - 19 June 2008
The Panel

Brighton and Hove Chamber event reveals city’s challenges and achievements

The well attended ‘State of the Nation’ debate sponsored by the Business Forum and Brighton University on 12th June identified the need to raise the value of jobs in the city and highlighted problems around lack of commercial space for offices and affordable housing for residents, but also identified a steady economy, a safer city and a buoyant tourist and visitor trade.

A presentation by Tony Mernagh – Executive Director of the Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership – identified the central challenges as:

  • The need to raise the value of jobs IN the city
  • The importance of broadening the employment base from the current four main sectors.
  • Helping those who are less qualified or disadvantaged into the labour market
  • The need for more housing and quality office space and the issues around the accompanying transport infrastructure
  • How to address these challenges whilst maintaining a good quality of life for which the city is rightly known.

The event which was hosted by Roger French OBE, Chair of the Business Forum and Managing Director of the Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company and Julie Stanford, President of the Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce, who was also a panelist.

The other panelists were:

  • Adam Bain, Regional Manager, South East, Working Links
  • Tony Mernagh, Chief Executive, Brighton & Hove Business Forum
  • Laurence Taylor, Chief Inspector Neighbourhood Policing Teams Brighton & Hove Division, Sussex Police
  • Alan Grundy, Deputy Head of Business Services, University of Brighton
  • Adam Bates, Head of Tourism, Brighton & Hove City Council

Some key figures were revealed in a presentation from Tony Mernagh in his role of Executive Director of Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership:

  • The city has one of the best qualified workforces in the south east region
  • But people working in the city (but not necessarily living here) earn below the national average salary by about 12.5%
  • People living in the city (but not necessarily working here) have salaries that are above the national average by just over 4% but still below the regional average.
  • The city has 25,000 benefit claimants out of a working age population of about 161,000
  • Nearly 18,000 of those people would like to work if they could find suitable employment
  • We need to identify sites for 20,000 m2 of office space between 2016 and 2026 and development of a new commercial quarter in the London Road area may be one of the most important sites in the city.
  • Tourism supports 13,000 jobs and brings over £400m into the city
  • People are still coming to the city with an increase in footfall of nearly 3% in 2007
  • There is a need for an additional 54,000 m2 of retail space in order to exploit our full potential which could increase retail turnover from £1.6bn to £2.8bn
  • Transport in and out of the city still remains an issue
  • Despite the slump in the housing market, housing in the city still remains expensive with the average first time property costing just under £180, 000 but this is falling.
  • Crime has fallen in Brighton & Hove by 15% over the previous year which is 3 percentage points higher than the national average

Read related items on:
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Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce
Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership
University of Brighton

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