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Economic Situation: Coastal Areas

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake in respect of (i) economic competitiveness and (ii) quality of life for residents in seaside towns in England. (262991)

The Department recognises that seaside towns have a distinctive role to play in sub-regional and regional economies. It supports efforts by the regional development agencies (RDAs), which receive the majority of their funding from CLG, to ensure that seaside towns in their regions are helped to achieve their full economic potential. Initiatives such as the New Deal for Communities, Working Neighbourhoods Fund, and the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative are also benefiting some seaside towns.

Local area agreements (LAAs) are helping local authorities, including those with seaside towns, to work alongside partners to improve public services and the quality of life for people living and working in their areas. Multi area agreements (MAAs) are enabling some seaside towns, such as Bournemouth and Poole, to develop stronger approaches to improving local prosperity. The Government Office for the South West is currently working closely with Torbay on plans to set up an Economic Development Company to promote economic growth and regeneration.

The cross-Government working group on coastal towns, led by CLG, in partnership with the RDA Coastal Areas Network, is identifying areas where more can be done and to highlight existing best practice. This includes supporting work by the Coastal Areas Network to help coastal areas address employment and skills challenges.