‘Oh we do like to be beside the seaside, oh we do like to be beside the sea……
It’s a well-known song – and those lyrics clearly still resonate with people.
There are many of us here at Lifetime who love nothing better than to make a coastal pilgrimage – to listen to the lapping of the waves on the shore, to hear the cry of the gulls, to feel the sand between their toes…….
Lifetimers Karen and Andrew like nothing better than ‘nipping off’ to the east coast. They love the resorts there, such as Filey, Runswick Bay, Whitby, Sandsend and Staithes (pictured below).
Colleague Tamsin has just come back refreshed – and with a tan – from a week at Mablethorpe, where she has spent many a happy day during her young life.
But there are some seaside towns in parts of the UK that are stuck in a cycle of poverty and are declining rapidly, a think tank has warned.
The Centre for Social Justice – set up by the government’s Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith – said some towns were suffering “severe social breakdown”.
This has been “further depressing the desirability of such areas and so perpetuating the cycle,” the report stated.
The CSJ report, entitled Turning the Tide, examined conditions in five coastal towns in England and Wales – Rhyl in north Wales, Margate in Kent, Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, Blackpool in Lancashire and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
While each town has its own particular problems, the findings claimed that “a recurring theme had been that of poverty attracting poverty”.
Many seaside towns’ economies were badly affected by the advent of cheaper foreign travel in the 1970s, it said. This led in turn to a depleted economy.
The total working-age benefits bill for the five towns is almost £2bn, it says – and the human cost of their high unemployment rates is “more considerable still”.
Some resorts now had problems as severe as deprived inner-city areas, the think tank added.
CSJ director Christian Guy said living standards in some of the UK’s best-known coastal towns had declined “beyond recognition” and locals were now “bearing the brunt of severe levels of social breakdown”.
“We have found inspiring local people, services and charities working hard to turn things around, but they are struggling to do this alone.
“Some of these areas have been left behind. We must ramp up efforts to revive Britain’s coastal towns, not just for visitors but for the people who live there,” he said.