A city is pulling ahead of the competition to attract business funding.

Experts say Brighton and Hove is third most attractive town or city in the country for business investors.

A study carried out by The Municipal Journal and Local Futures looked at the performance of 325 local authority areas in England.

The research looked at three main areas - economic performance, human resources, and environment and infrastructure. Scores from each of these areas were ranked to provide a league table of cities and towns in England.

The top five cities and towns in England are Milton Keynes, Warrington, Brighton & Hove and Swindon and York.

Tony Mernagh, executive director of the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership, said: “We’re in a tough economic climate but this research is evidence that Brighton & Hove has something to offer investors that other cities don’t. Our strong skills base, creative and entrepreneurial culture, access to national and international markets combined with a commitment to business growth positions the city well to continue to attract new investors.”

Councillor Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “It’s great for the city to be recognised independently as being one of the best places in the country to do business. The research backs up what we’re seeing on the ground as more companies choose to set up in Brighton & Hove. For example, the city is already outstripping most of the country and region for the number of new business start-ups. In 2011 the number of new companies being formed was two and a half times the national average – around 300 a month compared to 120 for an average English district area”

John Fisher, founder and director at Local Future, said hundreds of different socio-economic statistics were used to find out which of England’s cities and towns are the most attractive to potential investors.

He said: “The local authority in Brighton and Hove must identify the nature of the strengths in the city and market them to make them attractive to inward investors.”