THE Power Up The North campaign’s call for the post of Northern Powerhouse Minister to be elevated to the Cabinet was heeded by Boris Johnson on the day that he became Prime Minister. Now the Tory leader needs to appoint a dedicated Minister for the Coast as part of his Whitehall overhaul.
A proposal floated by The Yorkshire Post in early November, it is given even more urgency by today’s report about the rate of coastal erosion in parts of the county. Up to three feet of land is being lost each month, a living nightmare for families, and businesses, whose homes and offices are in proximity to affected areas. Time is not on their side and the political tide against them.
But this is not unique to the 45 miles of the Yorkshire coast which received international attention when landmark Holbeck Hall Hotel at Scarborough fell into the sea in 1993. This affects the 7,723 miles of the UK coastline as erosion, coupled with the increased prevalence of flooding in a changing climate, create a perfect storm.
And it is not just environmental policies – including flood prevention measures – that unite coastal communities. Resorts from Scarborough to St Ives, and Bridlington to Bognor Regis, all face the same economic conundrum; a need to attract new investment to areas that are home to complex social problems arising from below-average wages and a disproportionate number of elderly residents. However these issues are not insurmountable if the Government co-ordinates policy more effectively – current structures are far too convoluted. Over to you, Mr Johnson.