COMMENT: Working together for a better tomorrow

The leaders of all West Sussex County, Borough and District councils this week spoke with vision, passion and unanimity about maintaining and encouraging more inward investment in jobs and business across the region.

West Sussex joint leaders
West Sussex joint leaders

Following the EU referendum, they collectively said: “Now is a time for stability and together we want to reassure all our residents, businesses and communities that we remain committed to delivering the very best council services for everyone.

“We will continue to work with all of our businesses to build a stronger economy for West Sussex that creates and secures jobs today, tomorrow and in the future.”

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This newspaper congratulates them for their constructive attitude at a time when national political leaders - from both the Conservative Government and the Labour Opposition - appear either overwhelmed with grief by the decision or in total disarray as they squabble amongst themselves over leadership ambitions.

It doesn’t matter what you voted. The British people have decided to leave the EU and there has never been a greater need for us all to pull together, calmly and with good humour, to support one another on the journey ahead.

There is much to be positive about.

Economically, despite an initial hiccough caused by speculators and uncertainty, the £ has stabilised and is beginning to rise. The FTSE 100, 250 and 350 have been soaring in the past two days and the FTSE 100 - at the time of writing this comment on Wednesday morning - is nearly at its highest level for a month.

The hugely respected former Bank of England governor Mervyn King put it rather well in an interview on the World at One.

While sterling has fallen, Lord King said it is “roughly at the level that it was in 2013” which could help exports as “we have a very large trade deficit”.

He thought that some fall in sterling was inevitable following the highs that the currency reached ahead of the referendum result, as markets speculated on a Remain win.

Lord King said that it would be wrong to look at current market volatility and “translate that into deeply pessimistic views of the long term”.

There are many challenges ahead.

Locally, we will hold fast to our values. Be inclusive. Help heal rifts. Stand up for the vulnerable - especially hard-working Eastern European migrants who have made their home here. Keep calm. Support local business and the economy. Drive community cohesion. Reinforce the message of ‘business as usual’, and champion and highlight all that makes this region and our country so special. Our business and community awards are an important part of this.

This newspaper, unlike much of the national press, expressed no editorial view on how you should vote. We supported neither Leave nor Remain.

But we do back Sussex and the UK.

Let’s work together and do what we do best in times of uncertainty: turn every challenge into an opportunity.