EVEN THOUGH Yorkshire’s coastal resorts can expect picture perfect weather this weekend as the sun glistens off the North Sea, it will not mask the tide of despair facing many people living and working by the seaside.
Not only do workers, on average, earn significantly less than people living elsewhere, but the economies of some coastal towns are smaller now than they were before the financial crash a decade ago.
And coastal areas are experiencing a decline in health relative to the rest of the country, meaning a disproportionate number of people who are out of work because of ill-health.
As such, this new research by the Social Market Foundation is a sharp reminder – if one was needed – that collective action needs to be taken to tackle this social and economic neglect before towns like Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington lose their appeal to tourists.
Locally, this means traders – and town halls – coming up with bespoke plans to promote and market their individual resorts. They can’t leave it to others – they need to take the lead and marketing organisations like Welcome to Yorkshire should be going out of their way to assist.
Regionally, coastal communities risk being overlooked by regional bodies, like Transport for the North, whose work invariably focuses on major urban areas. Road and rail links matter to seaside towns if they’re to attract visitors and persuade employers to relocate to such areas.
Finally, the Government needs to recognise that it is a sense of despair which drove most voters in seaside resorts to back Brexit. As a result of Britain leaving the EU, presumably on October 31, they will now be expecting Boris Johnson to honour pre-referendum pledges by providing much-needed extra resources to boost the economy – and fishing industry – in these areas.
What’s the plan, Prime Minister?