William Eichler 05 September 2017

Coastal communities ‘worst performing areas’, according to new study

Britain’s coastal communities are among the worst ranked parts of the country across a range of economic and social indicators, new report finds.

A study from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has revealed five of the 10 local authorities in Great Britain with the lowest average employee pay were in coastal communities.

Last year, average employee pay was about £3,600 per annum lower in coastal communities than in other parts of Great Britain.

The research also found five of the 10 local authorities in Great Britain with the highest unemployment rate were coastal communities, for the three months to March 2017.

Poor health also appears to be a serious issue in coastal communities. 10 of the 20 council areas in England & Wales with the highest proportion of individuals in poor health are coastal communities.

SMF also found the two local authorities in England & Wales with the smallest proportion of 16+ population holding level 4 and above qualifications were coastal communities.

In 1997, economic output (GVA) per capita was 23% lower in Great Britain’s coastal communities, compared with non-coastal communities. By 2015 this gap had widened to 26%.

‘The economies of many coastal towns have performed poorly relative to the rest of the country, with a lack of well-paid job opportunities for people in these areas,’ said the report’s author, SMF chief economist Scott Corfe.

‘Many coastal communities are poorly connected to major employment centres in the UK, which compounds the difficulties faced by residents in these areas.

‘Not only do they lack local job opportunities, but travelling elsewhere for work is also relatively difficult.

‘Despite the evident social and economic problems which these places face, there is currently no official definition of a ‘coastal community’. The government needs to do more to track – and address – economic problems in our coastal towns.

‘Particularly in the South East, some coastal communities are pockets of significant deprivation surrounded by affluence – meaning their problems are often overlooked by policymakers.’

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