THE city's economy enjoyed a big boost in the week after Covid restrictions eased last month, according to latest figures.

Data from Centre For Cities revealed that consumer spending in Brighton and Hove has seen one the biggest jumps in the UK, growing by 14 per cent in the week of "Freedom Day" and is up by 20 per cent on last summer.

Footfall across the city is also recovering from the worst of the pandemic, with the number of people out and about at night-time and at weekends now back to 74 per cent and 82 per cent of pre-Covid levels, both higher than the UK urban average.

After Freedom Day, footfall around Brighton during the evening went up 18 per cent. However, weekend footfall dropped by 15 per cent, a trend that was also seen in other seaside destinations, particularly Bournemouth and Southend.

Workers are returning to the office in greater numbers in Brighton and Hove than anywhere else in the country - only one in five UK workers are back in the workplace. But the number in the city remains at just under half of pre-Covid levels.

The Centre For Cities report warned: “This has important implications for the next few months. If workers don’t return, then spending levels are unlikely to fully bounce back to their pre-pandemic levels, and the sectors which usually cater for these workers, whether in retail or hospitality, are likely to struggle, especially as the end of furlough looms.”

Cities in the North of England and the Midlands have seen the strongest recovery, with Blackpool’s overall footfall rising above pre-Covid levels in the wake of the easing of the national lockdown.

Meanwhile, London has struggled to see consumer spending and evening visitors return to the city.

The report said: “The reason for this is quite simple and has to do with the role the city centre plays. In these large, economically important cities like London but also Birmingham and Manchester, high street businesses rely heavily on office workers, much more than on weekend trade.”

Worthing saw overall footfall return to 71 per cent, with night-time football jumping by 11 per cent following lockdown restrictions coming to an end last month.