Lancaster district 'mid-table' as report reveals coastal deprivation

The UK's coastal communities are struggling but the Lancaster district is keeping its head above water, claims new research.

Thursday, 7th September 2017, 3:13 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:47 pm
The Lancaster district, which includes Morecambe, is 'mid-table' in a report into coastal deprivation.

A report by the London-based Social Market Foundation showed that many coastal areas are "pockets of deprivation" with low earnings, employment, health and education.

But our area was 'mid-table' in the report, scoring best on unemployment levels.

The report, produced for BBC Breakfast, surveyed coastal communities - defined as local authorities with a coastal border.

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It did not analyse Morecambe on its own, instead looking at data for the entire Lancaster and Morecambe district.

The report included several league tables showing the best and worst performers in several criteria but the Lancaster district did not appear in any of them.

It found that unemployment in the Lancaster district for the year up to March 2017 was lower than the national average of 4.8 per cent, at 4.5 per cent.

The percentage of people with Level 4 and above qualifications was bang on the national average at 27.2 per cent and the percentage of people in bad/very bad health was only marginally higher than the national average of 5.6 per cent, at 5.8 per cent.

Average employee earnings in 2016 were lower than the national average of £28,442 at £25,836.

Growth in economic output between 1997 and 2015 (74.4 per cent) was short of the national average of 78.1 per cent.

The report found that five of the 10 local authorities in the UK with the highest unemployment rate for the three months to March 2017 were classed as coastal.

These were Hartlepool, North Ayrshire, Torridge, Hastings, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

It also found that the "economic gap between coastal and non-coastal communities has widened over time". In 2016, average employee pay was around £3,600 per annum lower in coastal communities than in other parts of the country.

Of the 20 local authorities in England and Wales with the highest proportion of people in poor health, 10 are in coastal communities.

Meanwhile the government announced on Monday that it was providing £40m for coastal areas from the Coastal Communities Fund.

Having launched in 2012, it has so far provided £170m for 278 projects across the UK in five rounds of funding.

In 2015 the fund granted £297,000 which helped pay for the Morecambe Bay Cycle Way, a new cycling route around the bay area.