Some useful information about one of the strongest economic areas in the country has just been released by Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). This LEP covers much of the Gatwick Diamond, Croydon and Brighton areas. C2C says that our area is an economy that generates £32.5 billion GVA (Gross value added) per year(2007) , exports £9.1 billion, plus £3.67 billion of tourism income.
The area has 79,020 businesses with 113,000 self-employed (10.5% of the population), and 721,000 jobs (of which 27% or 194,000 are in the public sector). Approximately 8000 new businesses are started each year but only one quarter of the area is dependent on GVA produced by the public sector.
The resident population is 1.694m, with a working age population of 1.075m, and an employment rate of 74%.
In all parts of the area there are businesses that are world leaders, are internationalised, are high value added and have sustainable business policies. In parts we have a proven track record of delivering growth – for example, in the past decade Brighton & Hove had the highest private sector jobs growth contribution of all British cities. Croydon is the major office centre in London outside central London and an established base for international businesses. However, most businesses in our area are relatively small, have growth constraints and have extended geographical supply chains. The majority of businesses trade locally.
The LEP states that the economic challenges they will address include:
- Areas with low levels of entrepreneurship and business start-ups
- A business community that is focused on local not international markets
- Stagnant business and employment growth in parts of the area and lower productivity than the regional average
- Low skills levels in some areas, particularly among young people
- Evidence of slowing levels of investment, even in the more successful areas such as the Gatwick Diamond