Greater Brighton 'independence' bid by Sussex councils

Brighton seafront February 16 2013
Image caption Four councils in Sussex are working on the Greater Brighton proposals

Four Sussex councils have welcomed the chance to bid for more spending powers as part of a Greater Brighton region.

Brighton and Hove City Council, Adur and Lewes district councils and Worthing borough council are working on the "city deal" proposals.

They are among 28 regions announced as part of a government initiative to boost jobs and growth by allowing greater independence from Whitehall.

The councils want to set up Greater Brighton as an "Eco tech" hub.

Among their aims are the revival of stalled development sites such as Toads Hole Valley and Preston Barracks in Brighton and Hove and Shoreham Harbour and Newhaven port.

The councils said their proposals were supported by Brighton's two universities and companies looking to invest in the area.

'Very ambitious'

"This is a major step forward, giving us the opportunity to make a big difference to the city and the region," said Brighton and Hove City Council's Green Party leader Jason Kitcat.

"We are rightly very ambitious and I am delighted the city region's importance to the national economy has been recognised.

"This status complements the super connected city work which is already under way after our bid for ultra fast broadband last year."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Monday the city deal scheme would restore spending powers to local authorities.

During a speech at the Mansion House in London, Mr Clegg said the British economy needed "major rebalancing".

Under the scheme, powers such as the ability to set and spend budgets are devolved from central government to local authorities in a bid to increase growth.

For bids to have been successful, each area must have demonstrated a strong plan to increase jobs and drive industry.

The full Greater Brighton proposal will be submitted to the government by June 2013.

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