A new report highlighting the severe socio-economic deprivation that exists in Britain’s coastal resorts backs the findings of an earlier study by the British Hospitality Association (BHA).
Analysis by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) independent think tank of the pay, employment, health, education and economic output in coastal communities was found to lag behind the rest of the country.
The Living on the edge: Britain’s coastal communities report, published on behalf of BBC Breakfast, said that average employee pay was about £3,600 per annum lower in coastal areas, compared to inland regions. Five of the 10 local authorities in the country with the highest unemployment rate for the three months to March 2017 were found in the coastal communities of Hartlepool, North Ayrshire, Torridge, Hastings, South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Meanwhile, Great Yarmouth and Castle Point are the two local authorities in England and Wales with the smallest proportion of over 16s with level 4 and above qualifications, and half of the 20 local authorities with the highest proportion of individuals with poor health are in coastal communities.
Scott Corge, chief economist of the SMF and author of the report, said that there was a lack of well-paid job opportunities in coastal areas and that the government needed to do more to address economic problems in resorts.
“Particularly in the South East, some coastal communities are pockets of significant deprivation surrounded by affluence – meaning their problems are often overlooked by policymakers,” he added.
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive, British Hospitality Association, said that the SMF report echoed the findings of the BHA’s own Creating Coastal Powerhouses report, published 14 months ago. She reiterated the report’s call for a seaside Tsar to be appointed by the government to help revive the economies of struggling seaside towns.
“Our members, who invest in and operate hospitality and tourism businesses in these areas recognise the problems but we also know there are fantastic opportunities to boost these places and help revive the Great British Seaside holiday. Over 250 million visits are already made to the UK’s coast each year, generating £17b to the economy.
“But we know there is a lot more to do – and that can only happen with a concerted effort by a committed government and the private sector. Our report calls for the appointment of a seaside Tsar, the making of Coastal Action Groups and a cut in the rate of VAT on accommodation and tourist attractions, something that the Northern Ireland government are actively investigating.”