Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Boost for Coastal Communities Fund

The Coastal Communities Fund is used to invest in seaside towns and villages

A fund of Government cash dedicated to boosting the fortunes of coastal towns is to be expanded by 5% to £29 million next year, Danny Alexander has announced.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury said the Coastal Communities Fund will also be extended for an additional year to 2016.

The fund, created by the coalition in 2012, is used to invest in seaside towns and villages. The Treasury said it believed the cash already approved should deliver 5,000 jobs and 500 apprenticeships.

The fund is paid for by channelling money equivalent to 50% of the profits from the Crown Estate's marine activities.

Mr Alexander said: "The Coastal Communities Fund is giving our seaside towns and villages a real chance to grow as the nation benefits from our marine resources.

"We asked projects to be creative and they met the challenge - in year one, each of the 51 projects that received funding was a unique response to the challenges in that area, from creating a modern harbour on the Island of Barra, to regeneration of the historic North York Moors railway, and making Wadebridge in Cornwall Britain's first solar-powered town.

"The Government created the fund to enable coastal areas to share in the gains from our marine resources, and that is exactly what it is doing."

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles added: "This Government is committed to supporting our seaside towns and we know the Coastal Communities Fund is really making a difference so I'm delighted to announce we are increasing the funding for next year."

The funding, for the 2014/15 financial year, is divided between each of the UK countries. England gets £22.15 million, Scotland's highlands and islands £2.85 million, the rest of Scotland £1.95 million, Wales £1.55 million and Northern Ireland £0.6 million.

Christian Guy, director of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), said: "Some of Britain's seaside towns have gone from once flourishing tourism hotspots to dumping grounds for poverty and social breakdown.

"As CSJ research showed earlier this month, a decline in domestic tourism had a tragic impact on coastal resorts and many communities have been left behind.

"Investment in our seaside towns is welcome, but this should be only the start. We need to boost skills, attract businesses, provide decent housing and encourage family stability. This would breathe new life into these towns - not just for visitors, but the people that live there."

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