Agenda item - Chair's Communications
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21.1 The Chair provided the following communications:
“Thank you to Board Members for attending the Digital Action Plan Workshop on 6 January. I know for some it was the first day back after the Festive Season, and it was great that we had such a good turnout from Board Members, Officers and other stakeholders. It was crucial that we held the workshop to move forward with our digital ambitions, and we will be discussing the paper arising from that workshop later this morning.
Earlier this month I also had the privilege of attending a tour around Ricardo in Shoreham. This is a business that in just over a century has gone, to a global engineering company with 3000 staff, more than 700 of whom are based here in the heart of the City Region. I want to thank Andrew Swayne, chief executive Dave Shemmans and the team for their time. I was particularly impressed with their commitment to innovation around eco technologies and also the work going on to support the local workforce through apprenticeships and training schemes. I also look forward to the Hybrid Powertrain centre, funding for which was secured through Coast to Capital by Greater Brighton, going live later this year - this will enable the research and development of the next generation of electrified systems and vehicles right here in Greater Brighton.
Our response to the TfSE Strategy Consultation was submitted in line with the 10 January deadline. It clearly outlined the key priorities for the City Region, and our expectations of the Strategy going forwards. We look forward to seeing how the Strategy evolves and we will continue to make the strongest possible case for the interventions we need to ensure that we deliver the sustainable, healthy, accessible, safe and integrated transport system that the City Region needs.
In the autumn the Greater Brighton Comms Team published and circulated the Greater Brighton Experts Guide. Following that, Prof. Adam Tickell produced an article that was published in the Municipal Journal. The article focused on work of the University of Sussex Business School, on social purpose and doing business in a socially responsible way. Against the backdrop of climate change, economic uncertainly and inequality, entrepreneurs and business leaders are increasingly looking beyond the bottom line and acknowledging that there is more to company life than just making money. Examples include businesses ensuring that their supply chains are ethical, reducing waste and embracing the circular economy to reduce their environmental footprint. As policy and decision makers the article was very informative given the aim of this Board is to pursue growth in the City Region that is both responsible and sustainable.
The south-east region is home to 7.5 million people, a figure that will grow by 16% over the next 25 years. That accounts for 12% of the UK population and 13% of the workforce. At £200 billion per annum, our region is the second-highest contributor to the economy after London. However, the amount of public spending per head in the south-east is, at £8,100, the lowest in the UK—10% lower than the national average and 20% lower than London. Spending per head on local roads and local public transport is lower in the south-east than in any other English region outside London and yet ‘London and the South East’ are perceived by the rest of the country to be flowing with cash. The Board must lobby the government not to lump our region in with London and allocate adequate funding to the South East where it is needed. This is highlighted by our upcoming MJ article on Newhaven’s bid for the #MyTown programme, where 75% of funding is headed to the Midlands and North”.