Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Thursday, 25 March 2010

England's coast towns to share 5m government funding

Margate
Margate is one of the areas which will get a cash boost

Seaside towns across England are to share in £5m worth of government money to boost employment, businesses and skills, it has been announced.

Ministers are providing the funding to 25 coastal areas.

The scheme is part of a wider regeneration strategy published by Communities Secretary John Denham.

But the Conservatives said the £5m figure was a "drop in the ocean" and added many coastal towns would be hit by a new port tax.

Recent research has found many coastal areas have suffered in the economic downturn - with more than a quarter of shops in Margate, Kent, boarded up - the most in the UK.

Last year, seaside resorts such as Weston-super-Mare, Minehead and Bournemouth were found to be suffering above-average levels of unemployment.

WHERE THE MONEY WILL GO
South East (£1m) - Southsea, Eastbourne, Hastings, Margate, Brighton and Hove
South West (£1m) - Plymouth, Cornwall, Torbay, Bideford, Minehead
North East (£1.2m) - Seaham, Hartlepool, Newbiggin by the Sea, Redcar, Saltburn by the Sea, Marsden, South Shields, Roker
North West (£0.8m) - Piel Island, Blackpool, St Bees, Seascale, Whitehaven, Wirral
Yorkshire and Humberside (£0.4m) - Cleethorpes, Scarborough
East Midlands (£0.2m) - Skegness, Mablethorpe
Eastern Region (£0.4m) - Great Yarmouth, Clacton on Sea

Mr Denham said: "Our coastal areas are rich with history and a high quality of life that makes them attractive places to live in and many seafronts have been transformed in recent years with government investment and support.

"Places like St Ives, Hastings and Scarborough are showing they can thrive once again through strong local leadership and dynamic businesses, no longer dependent on British weather, attracting visitors all year round.

"There is no reason why our other seaside towns can't flourish in the same way."

But the level of funding was attacked by the Tories.

Caroline Spelman, Shadow Communities Secretary, said: "This is a drop in the ocean compared to the £124m tax bombshell that the government is dropping on coastal towns in their new ports tax.

"Local firms in coastal towns across the country face going to the wall thanks to unfair new retrospective taxes being levied by Labour's tax inspectors."

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John Denham launched the scheme in Hastings



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