Social problems of town needing ways of generating cash

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BOARDED-up shops and a benefits dependency that spans generations are not peculiar to Bridlington but latest figures on social deprivation show just how far the town has fallen.

Statistics reveal the resort now has worse levels of economic and social deprivation than any other town in the East Riding, and some are among the worst in England.

The smallest measure available, covering neighbourhoods of about 1,500 people (known as Lower Super Output Areas), shows that Bridlington has some desperate problems.

Of the 32,482 LSOAs in England, the Bridlington South ward – the area around Windsor Crescent, St Hilda Street and the harbour – is ranked 505th, making it one of the worst in the country.

There are six LSOAs in the East Riding which feature in the 10 per cent most deprived in England, and they are predominantly in Bridlington.

In terms of employment, school attainment and attendance and the number of young people staying in education, one LSOA in Bridlington South is among the worst one per cent in the country.

It is in the worst two per cent for living environment and multiple deprivation, the worst five per cent for health deprivation, education, skills and training, and the condition of housing.

The same neighbourhood lies in the worst 10 per cent nationally for income, crime, air quality, road accidents and other issues.

According to latest figures (for June), a total of 6.2 per cent of working age people (aged 16-64) in Bridlington are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, compared with 3.2 per cent in the East Riding, 4.7 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 3.8 per cent in England.

The average household income in Bridlington is £25,922, compared with £34,219 in the East Riding, £30,245 in Yorkshire and the Humber, and £36,442 in the UK.

The Area Action Plan is clear about the issues and what needs to be done, but says Bridlington is still a popular place to live.

“Bridlington’s greatest challenge is its economy: it needs to grow, diversify and strengthen, and to do so in ways that will enhance the very assets that make Bridlington the popular place to live that it is.

“Bridlington needs new ways of generating wealth and more jobs to do it with. Too few residents of working age are economically active and there are not enough jobs to go around; and too many of the town’s jobs are poorly paid, casual or seasonal.

“Bridlington needs to be more prosperous and the benefits of greater prosperity need to be distributed more widely.”

The plan aims to deliver 1,900 new jobs over the next nine years, by which time its population is expected to have grown by 6,234.