British seaside towns in decline

Britons flock to beaches on hot days but many English seaside destinations are suffering above-average deprivation, according to an official study.
 
  • Blackpool beach
    Last updated: 21 August 2013, 16:44 BST

    Blackpool, which welcomes more visitors a year than any other UK coastal town, has the highest level of deprivation of the larger English seaside destinations in 2010, analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.

    The next most-deprived larger-destination towns were Clacton in Essex and Hastings in East Sussex, with 25 of the 31 larger English seaside resorts having higher levels of deprivation than the measure for England on average.

    While 20% of England overall was considered deprived in 2010, the figure for the 31 larger English seaside destinations was 26.9% - a rise on the 2007 figure of 26%.

    The biggest areas of deprivation for the seaside towns in 2010 were in the areas of health and disability, followed by employment. The area in which the coastal resorts scored the best was in housing and services.

    Six seaside towns bucked the trend, including Blackpool's north west England neighbour Lytham St Annes. The other five were Christchurch and Poole in Dorset, which have some of the most expensive properties in the UK, Worthing in West Sussex, Southport in Merseyside and Bognor Regis in West Sussex.

    The ONS said: "Our analysis has considered levels of deprivation in larger English seaside destinations, which may have once thrived on seaside resort tourism. There is a perception that these economies have declined and are enduring high levels of deprivation as a result of people going on holiday abroad rather than in England.

    "The perceived extent of their decline is so great that during the 2010 election campaign, all three major political parties discussed the problems facing British seaside settlements.

    "The results of the analysis revealed that there were higher levels of deprivation in 2010 than the deprivation measure for England on average. The larger seaside destinations with the highest average deprivation levels were Blackpool, Clacton and Hastings."

    A Treasury spokeswoman said: "These 2010 statistics show that, under the last administration, too many seaside towns and villages suffered from economic decline and neglect. There is huge potential for our coastal towns to welcome new industries and to diversify their economies so they can become year-round success stories.

    "The Government's Coastal Communities Fund was set up in 2011 to help these towns tap into new business opportunities that will create jobs and boost skills that benefit the whole community.

    "The projects this fund supports expect to support around 5,000 jobs, and more than 300 new business start-ups and create over 1,400 training places in the next few years. Details of next year's fund will be announced shortly."

    The most deprived of the larger English seaside destinations in 2010:

    1: Blackpool

    2: Clacton, Essex

    3: Hastings, East Sussex

    4: Ramsgate, Kent

    5: Margate, Kent

    6: Hartlepool, County Durham

    7: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

    8: South Shields, County Durham

    9: Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria

    10: Sunderland

    Last updated: 21 August 2013, 16:44 BST

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