A report highlighting the need for the Levelling Up agenda to come to the aid of hard-pressed communities in coastal areas has been welcomed by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.
Household income in coastal areas is almost £3,000 per year lower than in non-coastal communities, with nearly one in five jobs below the living wage – a greater proportion than for England overall, according to Communities on the Edge.
Low pay is just one of the disadvantages faced by those living in coastal parts of the country and Government policy aimed at redressing the balance is at risk of failing them as it is based on performance on a regional or city regional level.
The study published today was commissioned by the Coastal Communities Alliance, Local Government Association Coastal Special Interest Group and the Coastal Partnerships Network from Pragmatix Advisory.
East of England has the third highest regional average weekly pay, but data available at district rather than regional level reveals that parts of the region have some of the lowest earnings in the country, it says.
Community leaders in coastal areas are calling for sustained, long-term investment to address the unfair disparities between coastal and non-coastal parts of Britain.
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership contributed to the report and its Chief Executive Chris Starkie is the Chair of the LEP Network’s Coastal LEPs Group.
“This report has highlighted the huge disparity that exists between the affluent areas in this area which have some of the regional wages and places like Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft which have high levels of unemployment and low wages and where work is often seasonal,” said Mr Starkie.
“Areas like Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire mask the overall economic picture in this region and coastal areas in Norfolk and Suffolk are in need of a very different level of support from the Government. The East cannot be treated as one and the Levelling Up agenda needs to take account of the high levels of deprivation around our coast.”
Sally-Ann Hart MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Coastal Communities, commented: “The additional challenges faced by people living on the coast are so entrenched that help is needed from central government to stop them falling further behind.
“Our beautiful coastline is an incredible national asset. But it urgently needs sustainable long-term investment to make the most of the opportunities for growth – particularly in green jobs which can support the government’s climate goals.”
The full report can be read here