Should we be more like Brighton?

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Blackpool should take a leaf out of Brighton’s book to become a magnet for industries other than tourism, the resort’s Tory group leader has proposed.

Coun Tony Williams said the south coast seaside town had become a centre for digital and media businesses, while American Express now employs around 3,000 people in the city.

Brighton has also just signed a £170m government City Deal to drive its technology industries forward, which will include at least £155m of private investment.

Coun Williams called on Blackpool to follow Brighton’s lead, in order to end the town’s over-reliance on tourism for jobs.

He said: “Many years ago they realised tourism wasn’t going to be sustainable, and today Brighton is probably the capital for all the credit cards we use today.

“We should be looking at that. We should be looking at companies bringing call centres from abroad back to the UK.

He added: “Blackpool has a much higher profile than Brighton. We have a better tourism package, easier access, houses are more affordable, and we also have one of the best NHS services in the UK.

“Yet, amazingly, we have never been able to attract the large employee industries that could be vital to the town’s future.”

Last week, Cities Minister Greg Clark visited Blackpool to meet with business leaders, council officers and Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard to discuss a potential City Deal for Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

Mr Maynard said: “We all want to see the diversification of the economy to provide well-paid, skilled, sustainable jobs that will remove the need for so many of our young people to make their lives outside Fylde to fulfil their professional aspirations.”