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Seaside towns hit by poverty

09 August 2013

by a staff reporter


MANY seaside towns in England have been in recession since the 1980s, and people living in once-popular seaside resorts are experiencing severe poverty, figures from a new online poverty tool from the Church Urban Fund (CUF) suggest.

Updated annually, the tool allows people to enter a postcode into a website or a free app to find out about poverty levels in that area. This year's figures show that 17 per cent of the most deprived communities in England are in seaside towns and coastal cities.

But the figures show wide discrepancies between poverty levels in coastal communities. Popular sea-side towns and villages such as Rock, in Cornwall, Salcombe Regis, in Devon, and Sandbanks, in Dorset experience very little poverty; yet, just a few miles away, people are found to have high levels of need.

In Rock, seven per cent of children are living in poverty; in Bodmin, 13 miles away, that figure rises to 23 per cent. Female life-expectancy in Salcombe Regis is above average, at 83 years; in Axmouth, average female life-expectancy is 76.

The chairman of trustees at the CUF, Canon Paul Hackwood, said: "This year's figures show that deprivation is particularly concentrated along England's coastline, and in the North.

"For people who rely on seaside tourism, or England's traditional coastal industries, it feels like the recession hit in the 1980s, and never really went away. . . People in the poorest areas are running debt-counselling services . . . and supporting their vulnerable neighbours."

The poverty tool highlights the way in which deprivation is concentrated in northern industrial cities. A map on the CUF website (above) shows the distribution of the most deprived parishes in England (red dots), and the least deprived (blue dots).

For more information, visit www.cuf.org.uk/povertyinengland.

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