A bid by ‘Greater Brighton’ to boost business and create thousands of jobs has been given Government backing.

The coastal area around Brighton and Hove, from Goring to Cuckmere Haven, was identified as one of only 20 in the country as ripe for City Deal status.

Ministers billed the idea as a way of devolving powers so local leaders can “shape their future” and kick-start regional economies.

This evening (February 18) Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg announced that Brighton and Hove had moved through to the next stage of the bid.

City leaders, who welcomed the decision, will now enter into negotiations with Whitehall to thrash out the exact powers.

Jason Kitcat, Brighton and Hove City Council’s leader, said: “This is a major step forward, giving us the opportunity to make a big difference to the city and the region.”

All 20 cities which submitted a bid for the second City Deal stage will be invited to negotiate a final deal with ministers. Talks should be completed by the end of the year.

The Greater Brighton region includes the area covered by Brighton and Hove, Worthing, Adur and Lewes councils.

The local authorities joined with the city’s two universities, business leaders and key companies, such as E.ON, American Express, Ricardo, and EDF, to draw up a plan.

It is focused on boosting “eco tech” industries. The proposals include reviving stalled redevelopment sites such as Newhaven Port, Preston Barracks and Shoreham Harbour.

Bosses also want to have flexibility to set local tax rates and remove red tape to help smaller and medium-sized businesses.

Mr Clegg said: “A city deal will be a big boost for Brighton and Hove.”

Lewes District Council leader James Page said: “This is good news for the region and great news for Lewes.”

Adur leader Neil Parkin and Worthing leader Paul Yallop jointly said in a statement: “We are delighted that our ‘partnership’ ethos is bearing fruit for the people again.”

Hove MP Mike Weatherley said it was “excellent news”.

He added: “I am really pleased that ministers have recognised the strength of the Brighton and Hove area bid, and that we are through to the next stage.

“Despite the tough competition, I am confident that the unique characteristics of our area will shine through in the end.”

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