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Seaside Towns Given More Government Cash

(c) Sky News 2013

More cash is being offered to coastal towns as part of a Government bid to boost deprived areas.

The Coastal Communities Fund is being expanded to £29m next year and will now last another 12 months to 2016.

The fund, created by the coalition in 2012, is used to invest in seaside towns and villages and is expanding due to rising marine revenue.

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

Previous projects to have benefited include the harbour on the Island of Barra in the Western Isles and the North York Moors railway.

Making Wadebridge in Cornwall the first solar-powered town in Britain was also among the 51 bids to receive money in the first year.

The Treasury believes the cash already approved should deliver 5,000 jobs and 500 apprenticeships.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny 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."

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."

The funding for 2014/15 financial year is split between each of the UK countries.

England receives £22.15m, Scotland's Highlands and Islands £2.85m, the rest of Scotland £1.95m, Wales £1.55m and Northern Ireland £0.6m.

Expansion of the fund comes after the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) warned some seaside towns were becoming "dumping grounds for poverty and social breakdown".

Its study revealed seven of the 20 areas in the UK with the highest level of working-age people on out-of-work benefits were on the coast.

On key poverty measures such as teenage pregnancy and school failure, it found some resorts now suffer from problems as severe as deprived inner-city areas.

CSJ director Christian Guy said: "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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