Business at the heart of calls to devolve more powers to South East

July 2015 Business Scene

EAST Sussex, West Sussex and Surrey county councils are leading a call for greater powers and freedoms to be devolved to the south east.

Leaders of all three councils have signed a letter sent to Greg Clark – secretary of state for communities and local Government – in which they call for a meeting to discuss how to progress plans.

They describe determination to deliver better services for local residents, communities and businesses as being at the heart of their proposals.

They write: “Together we can ensure that the right decisions are made in the right places to guarantee that the current contribution to our nation’s success and finances is not only continued but also expanded to the full potential it can reach.

“Our three counties are special places with a strong sense of identity and place. They are achieving the delicate and fundamental challenge of balancing strong growth and preserving a beautiful environment. However, their ability to sustain that crucial balance needs us all to work differently.”

Road and rail infrastructure

The three authorities have identified a list of ‘devolution offers’ to manage the impact of economic growth such as pressures on school places, road and rail infrastructure, housing and social care.

To tackle those things the councils seek access to more of the taxes that are raised locally, the ability to influence road and rail infrastructure decisions, additional powers over apprenticeships and skills to promote employment and support small businesses as well as new ways of supporting services that provide care to the elderly and vulnerable. They believe doing these things across a larger area will make a real difference.

More autonomy

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Our region plays a critical role in the UK’s economy and we must nurture that.”

Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “We want decisions about how services are delivered made closer to the people affected by those decisions. With more autonomy we believe we can help to grow the local economy and encourage greater investment in our county and our region.”

David Hodge, leader of Surrey County Council, said: “Our residents and businesses are at the heart of our plans and only through collaborating and working as one team – using the local expertise we possess – can we be certain to make the services people rely upon fit for the future.”

Congratulations to Claire Coleman

*We love to mark out special anniversaries for business who feature in our Uckfield Business Directory. It is first anniversary time for Claire Coleman and her travel service

Rounders match for business people

*All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy, so the saying goes. Well there can be no “Dull boys” in the Uckfield business community after a successful rounders tournament held at Maresfield.

Read more here about the event organised by Simmons Gainsford.

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*More success for Uckfield Chamber of Commerce members has come in the latest business awards. Read more here

Small business loan scheme

Wealden businesses which have been turned down by the banks will still be able to access finance thanks to new scheme being launched by  Wealden District Council and EDEAL.

The Small Business Loan Scheme is open to companies which employ ten people or fewer.  The amount available to lend through the scheme is between £5,000 and £15,000.

Companies applying for the loans will be expected to write a business plan to back their proposal and this should involve growing the business and employing more staff.

The Small Business Loan Scheme is being launched by the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex,  Peter Field tomorrow (July 2).

Further information about interest rates and conditions are available from the Lets Do Business Group, www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk/business-finance.aspx, telephone 0845 601 8326.

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