Skegness donkeys

Official figures have revealed the desperate state of many of the UK's seaside towns. They are officially in a far worse state financially than the average English town - suffering from unemployment, crime, poor housing and poor health.

So which are the most deprived seaside towns in the country, and why?




The report looked at the 57 largest seaside resorts in the UK, and assessed a number of things including income, employment, health, crime, and the environment.


Where?

It revealed that Skegness and Ingoldmells was suffering most - with deprivation levels around two and a half times the average for England. The town tends to attract seasonal workers (many who work for roughly minimum wage), who stay on when the season ends and struggle to find employment. Meanwhile, there is also a large pensioner population - living on the state pension.

Blackpool was next on the list. It remains the most popular resort in the UK - but the decline of the rest of the town, and the fact that tourism has dropped dramatically, means that unemployment is high, crime is higher than average, and the health of the population is suffering.

Third on the list is Clacton-on-Sea in Essex - the decline of the town was marked with the closure of the Butlins holiday camp in the 1980s, and the subsequent closure of the theme park that took over the site.

Fourth was Hastings in East Sussex, which suffered terribly with the decline of first fishing and then tourism in the town - which saw the closure of its holiday camp.

Why?

The cause of the deprivation isn't geographical. Blackpool, for example sits cheek-by-jowl with wealthy Lytham St Annes. Clacton-On-Sea, meanwhile, benefits from one of the warmest climates in the UK.

The shortage of employment opportunities is key. The right-leaning Centre for Social Justice found that over time, unemployment has become entrenched in some families in these towns, so employers are unable to find those with suitable skills and qualifications who are ready for work.

It added that once an area has started to decline, the process becomes a vicious circle: property becomes cheaper, so those looking for cheap social housing are attracted to the area, so more unemployed people live in the town, exacerbating social problems.

And property in these areas is astonishingly cheap. In Skegness, for example, you can buy a five-bedroom detached house for £250,000 or a two-bedroom bungalow for less than £125,000.

Meanwhile in Blackpool, you can buy a brand new four bedroom detached house for £250,000 or a two-bedroom bungalow for £160,000. The huge number of guesthouses for sale - and the low level of demand - means you could even snap up a seven-bedroom hotel near the prom for £160,000.

The ten most deprived:

1. Skegness and Ingoldmells
2. Blackpool
3. Clacton
4. Hastings
5. Ramsgate
6. Seaham
7. Margate
8. Hartlepool
9. Great Yarmouth
10. South Shields

But what do you think? Why are these areas in decline? Let us know in the comments.



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