As a city with an international outlook, it’s easy to understand the reservations many people have about Brexit. But it’s happening and the most important thing now is to make it work.
One of the things happening behind the scenes is that councillors and officials are looking at which European Union rules may be harmful to local economies, costing huge sums of money at the expense of local jobs and services.
One example of this is the EU procurement regime. Brighton and Hove a City Council spends a small fortune each year advertising contracts across the EU for work which attracts few if any bids from businesses in other EU member states.
Ensuring that the council is legally compliant with those EU rules also costs money. And the money that it costs the council to comply with the EU rules – a substantial sum – could be better spent on services for local residents.
Freed from the EU rules, Brighton and Hove and other councils could look at when it is appropriate to require that contracts are given to local suppliers – and on what terms.
The council could specify minimum wage levels, that training is given to apprentices or a significant proportion of employees are local.
This approach has worked when the council grants planning permission with conditions that require developers to employ a reasonable percentage of their workers from the local area.
It’s not just the jobs and the cash going into the local economy. Think, for instance, about the traffic and transport implications. Few people, if any, want the rush-hour to be unnecessarily busier.
The current rules make it too hard for small local businesses in particular to bid for the many supplier and service contracts that are vital if councils and other public services like hospitals and universities are to function efficiently and without costing taxpayers more than they should.
In too many respects the system is geared towards bigger international businesses rather than the self-employed, the start-up or the small family firm.
This is only one small example of the work that politicians will have to do – and are doing – to ensure Brexit works for Britain – and of course for Brighton and Hove.
It could mean quicker and simpler procurement, more work for local businesses, more jobs for local people and more money for local public services.
Of course, there will be times when the best deal is with a business from abroad – just as there are now.
And public services will be free to find the best deal whether it’s with local suppliers or with those from overseas.
We will still trade with our friends in Europe. And we will be as welcoming as ever – thousands, for example, will still host language students in their homes every year.
But outside the European Union, we will be able to look at this in a much more flexible way so that Brexit works for Brighton.
Councillor Steve Bell is deputy leader of the opposition Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.