BRIGHTON and Hove will see one of the biggest rises across the country in small business growth over the next four years.

New research says the city will have the fifth highest increase in the UK, only behind London, Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham,

The report shows that small and medium-sized businesses will generate £16 billion for the UK economy each year by 2020 - despite fears over an economic slowdown in the wake of the EU referendum.

Carol Lewis, President of Brighton Chamber of Commerce, has welcomed this research by Capital Economics and commissioned by energy firm npower.

She said: "This is great news for small businesses across Brighton and Hove and is an encouraging indicator of what is to come.

"As part of the business community we know what a vibrant and progressive area this is which has obviously been recognised in this report."

Capital Economics said that fears over Brexit may be unfounded.

The report said: "Overall we expect that the impact of Brexit will be more modest than other commentators suggest and we expect all regions to grow by an average of more than one per cent per annum in the next five years."

The economics analysis firm ranked UK cities by growth prospect scores, which were calculated using four metrics.

Those metrics considered the regional economic outlook, the change in the number of SMEs in the city since 2010, the share of fast-growing SME industries, and the quality of the business environment, which considered workforce skills, property costs and broadband speed.

Dale Murray, CBE & Board Advisor at the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: "Growth of SMEs will be crucial to the British economy over the next five years as they create tens of thousands of jobs.

"Policy makers must recognise how vital business rates, living conditions and workforce skills are to attracting SMEs and do everything they can to support them."