Brighton's creative and digital firms get £170m investment from government

Photo by Matt Bachelor

A new deal signed this week is aiming to make Brighton a major centre for creative and digital businesses.

The 'Greater Brighton City Deal', signed by the government, leaders of local authorities and the Local Enterprise Partnership, will unlock more than £170 million of investment in Greater Brighton to create 8,500 jobs and grow its technology businesses.

The government refers to Brighton's tech cluster as 'Silicon Beach' and hopes the deal will enable the city to compete with other major tech clusters around the world, such as Silicon Valley, London and Tel Aviv.

The City Deal will also unlock cheaper and faster broadband for Brighton's tech companies by creating a 'Digital Exchange' in the heart of the city, where companies collaborate to use combined buying power to get faster broadband at lower prices.

Seaside growth

Cities minister Greg Clark said: "Brighton's tech cluster has grown from very little 10 years ago to having 1,500 businesses today. It's already making a huge impact on Brighton's economic performance, and this City Deal will help accelerate its growth by ensuring that it can provide the space and infrastructure for high-value creative-technological businesses to grow. It can help turn Brighton into one of the most prosperous cities in the UK."

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg added: "This City Deal puts power in the hands of local people who know best what skills are needed in the area to give it a real chance of changing the fortunes of thousands of people in and around Brighton."

The £170 million of investment consists of £6.7 million from central government, £9.8 million from the local public sector and at least £155 million of private investment.

The government is trying to establish more tech clusters around the UK and join them up with the help of the Tech City UK organisation.

Speaking at an event last week, Tech City UK CEO Gerard Grech said: "London is going great guns, we all know that. But there are other tech clusters around the UK that have a lot offer. We want to have a joined up conversation so we're not working in isolation."

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