Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Friday, 21 July 2006 15:59 UK

Inquiry into seaside town funding

Hastings seafront
Hastings is receiving 3.8m of government funding

A committee of MPs are holding an inquiry into whether seaside towns should receive more government money.

Many coastal areas in the south east are having to adapt to survive as more Britons choose to travel abroad for their holidays.

Phyllis Starkey MP, chairwoman of the Committee for Communities and Local Government, said regeneration in coastal towns will cost more.

The committee is expected to publish its findings in three months' time.

Government funding

Dr Starkey said some coastal towns were in a spiral of decline and help was needed to stop it.

She added that the cause of the problems in coastal areas include being on the end of transport systems, a lack of highly-paid jobs and affordable homes, and a high population of elderly people.

"People who retire to coastal towns like to keep it as it is, and that's a sure fire recipe for decline. You have to keep young people there which means you have to develop."

She believed towns needed to identify something which would attract visitors and industry to reduce the dependency on tourism.

Deprived areas

Dr Starkey also said towns should learn from each other and cited Brighton and some seaside towns in Kent as areas which had fought off decline.

"Towns themselves need to work out a business plan that will work, find money from their own resources and preferably also from private business and then they might expect the government to add to that."

In February, Hastings in East Sussex was announced as one of 10 schemes nationally to share 126m to boost its economy.

It was granted 3.8m over three years after the local council submitted proposals setting out how the funding would be used to stimulate enterprise and transform its most deprived areas.



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