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Greater Brighton wants to be the UK's first 5G region

Wednesday, September 9th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Superfast broadband and 5G connectivity are at the centre of Greater Brighton’s efforts to get more powers for the region.

The Greater Brighton Economic Board has today submitted a ‘devolution prospectus’ to communities secretary Greg Clark as part of its bid to become a devolved city region.

Proposals include Greater Brighton becoming the UK’s first 5G region and making superfast broadband connections available to every home and business in the area.

Other proposals include an ‘intelligent’ transport system, living wage housing and public sector reform.

The board is made up of Adur, Brighton and Hove, Lewes, Mid-Sussex and Worthing councils, the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex, four colleges, three business partnerships, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and the South Downs National Park Authority.

Neil Parkin, chairman of the board and leader of Adur District Council, said: “This devolution submission is the start of a longer dialogue with the government, leading with an absolutely clear focus on three key areas; economic, social and public service productivity.

“As a united board, we see these as key to unlocking the use of our assets – whether those are land and property, intellectual assets in our education and skills system or in ensuring open governance that clearly supports enterprise.

“Devolved powers from central government would allow us to build on the firm foundation established by the City Deal, strengthening the Greater Brighton Economic Region’s attractiveness as a place to live, work and invest through delivering key strategic projects across the next five to 10 years.”

The City Deal is a government initiative to give more power to the regions, boosting jobs and growth.

'We have the capability'

The Greater Brighton Devolution Deal is expected to create 24,000 jobs, 455,000 sq metres of employment space and 22,500 new homes.

Andrew Swayne, chairman of the Adur & Worthing Business Partnership, said: “Platforms to Productivity is a key step in developing Greater Brighton’s path to taking more responsibility for what it does and delivering better value from public funds.

“Rapid progress in the devolution agenda will enable us to have better transport and digital infrastructure, local focus on skills development leading to our residents becoming more economically active.

“I am particularly pleased to see a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) across the age range and empowering our most troubled families to be economically active.

“I hope government supports the approach and enables us to move rapidly to detailed negotiations – we have the capability – let us use it.”

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