The leader of Brighton and Hove City Council has vowed to fight for the people of the area after the vote for Leave in the European Union (EU) referendum.
Councillor Warren Morgan also said that we should keep looking outwards, reviewing the shape of the local government set up, including the shape of Greater Brighton, and believe in better days ahead.
He said: “I’m proud to lead a city that voted overwhelmingly to remain, an international, outward-looking and European city.
“Once again Brighton and Hove will have to deal with the consequences of an outcome it did not support.
“As a city we cannot afford to put up barriers, to withdraw from the world, we cannot afford to rely on Westminster alone for decisions on things that affect us in our daily lives and on whether our city and our economy grows.
“Difficult days lie ahead. I intend to lead Brighton and Hove through this period of uncertainty, fighting for the best for all who live here.”
He said yesterday: “By the time you read this the EU referendum will be over and Britain’s role in or out of Europe will be decided. After months of debate this will be a relief to most.
“For Brighton and Hove though, another question about our place in our region and the world must be addressed.
“Small to medium-sized cities like ours around the globe are looking to the future and deciding what they want to offer residents, visitors and businesses.
“Alongside the day to day concerns about social care and parking, grass cutting and libraries, as leader of the city council I have a responsibility to ensure our home makes progress and does not decline, that it competes and co-operates rather than building walls around itself.
“Within our region and largely out of the public spotlight, discussions are going on about a range of new geographies and governance arrangements for health, transport, planning and economic growth.
“Local government faces wholesale but largely unstructured change. Without a plan to see us through it, the ability to provide the things residents need and expect is under threat.
“Our city should lead, not follow. We should be at the heart of change, not at the mercy of it. We need a vision for 2020 and beyond that secures a better future, not one that harks after a better past.
“With the social, financial and infrastructure challenges we face, we have to take risks, find bold and innovative solutions, not retreat into a comfortable but ultimately sterile decline.
“We are bidding for devolved powers from government that will give us the ability to tackle the housing crisis and bring in the money we need to fund basic services and I met with the Secretary of State for Local Government recently to make that case.
“I want to explore growing the Greater Brighton City Region to Crawley and Gatwick, creating a real powerhouse in the south east with global access and reach.
“We need the power and influence to ensure we have the transport infrastructure and governance to guarantee rail links to London and I am seeking discussions with the mayor’s office in the capital to take that forward.
“We need a vision for a prosperous city where all share in our economic success and our plans for investment and growth along our seafront, throughout the city and including up to our universities are moving at pace.
“An economy founded on tourism and conferences, arts and creative industries, digital and financial services, education and skills, entrepreneurship and independent businesses must be driven to prosper.
“Brighton and Hove has always faced outwards, has long been an international city, and to secure a successful future for those who live here we need to pursue this vision with energy and determination, confidence and aspiration and a belief in ourselves as a city whose better days lie ahead of us.”
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