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Endemic problems of seaside towns continue unabated, says new Lords report

21 July 2023

The House of Lords Liaison Committee publishes The future of seaside towns Follow-up report.


This report examines the progress made by the Government in the implementation of the recommendations made by the Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities in its 2019 report, The future of seaside towns.

Key recommendations

  • Seaside towns and communities have continued to see a lack of progress in tackling entrenched problems to enable these areas to flourish.
  • The Government's Levelling up agenda, which aspires to target areas in the most need, is welcome but more needs to be done to reach seaside towns and communities which are yet to receive the support they need. The responsibility for seaside towns and communities ought to be allocated to a Levelling Up Ministerial portfolio. This will give these areas the recognition they need and add a necessary voice in discussions on levelling up.
  • The Government needs to work with the Local Government Association, coastal interest groups, the private sector, the third sector and other stakeholders to develop a coastal communities strategy in order to demonstrate clear mechanisms to successfully address the long-standing disparities faced by seaside towns and communities.
  • The draft strategy, covering issues such as transport and digital connectivity, education, and health and wellbeing, should be put to the House of Commons Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee to ensure effective scrutiny of the strategy ahead of implementation. This work should be started as a matter of urgency to ensure that disparities do not become further entrenched.
  • Initiatives such as the Levelling Up Partnerships are to be commended and are positive steps towards place-based solutions, however the Government needs to ensure that lessons learned and best practice is shared to benefit other areas that face similar challenges.

Former Chair’s comments

Lord Bassam of Brighton, former Chair of the Select Committee on Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities, said:

“Four years on from our original report we have seen little progress in seaside towns and communities and their endemic problems continue to persist.

“The Government's Levelling up agenda wasn’t really a ‘thing’ when we carried out our inquiry, but the aspiration to target areas in the most need aligns with many of the conclusions and recommendations in our 2019 report to support seaside towns and communities.

“What these communities need now is urgent action to address the combination of deeply entrenched issues they face. This demands a long-term strategy from the Government. Not a succession of short-term initiatives. It must find a way to provide the support needed for effective regeneration and to address systemic challenges.”

Note: since 2019, the Liaison Committee has had the responsibility of following up the recommendations of previous special inquiry committees. This is the seventh occasion that a former special inquiry committee’s work has been followed up in this way.

Further information