Seaside resorts ‘as deprived as inner cities’, think-tank finds

5 Aug 13
Some UK coastal towns are suffering ‘severe social breakdown’, plagued by high levels of unemployment and poverty, a think-tank has warned.

The Centre for Social Justice praised efforts by councils and charities to tackle deprivation, but called for more to be done to restore seaside resorts to their former levels of prosperity.

Its Turning the tide report examined five seaside towns: Rhyl, Margate, Clacton-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth and Blackpool. On some key poverty measures, such as teenage pregnancy, addiction and worklessness, some resorts now have problems that match those found in deprived inner city areas, the CSJ found.

In one part of Rhyl, two-thirds of the working age population are dependent on out-of-work benefits, while 41% of adults in Clacton have no qualifications, almost double the national average for England and Wales.

CSJ director Christian Guy said: ‘Living standards in some of the UK’s best-known coastal towns have declined beyond recognition and locals are now bearing the brunt of severe levels of social breakdown.

‘We have found inspiring local people, services and charities working hard to turn things around, but they are struggling to do this alone. Some of these areas have been left behind. We must ramp up efforts to revive Britain’s coastal towns, not just for visitors but for the people who live there.’

The report criticised councils that use the abundance of cheap rented accommodation in coastal towns to house vulnerable people, such as children leaving care and former offenders. ‘This has caused some areas to become dumping grounds for people with complex needs and intensifies pressure on schools, social workers and other services,’ said CSJ policy director Alex Burghart.

But a more empowered local government was also seen as part of the solution. Devolving more powers to local level could help to transform these areas, allowing local government to invest in more proactive services and take greater control, the think-tank said.


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