Seaside towns are 'dumping grounds' for poor and cost £2 billion a year in welfare

An empty Pleasure Beach car park in the Norfolk seaside town of Great Yarmouth Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

British seaside towns have become "dumping grounds" for those on low incomes, welfare claimants and vulnerable people, a report warned.

ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:

As British holiday-makers desert home beach resorts in favour of overseas vacations, some seaside towns are suffering "severe social breakdown", with levels of school failure, teenage pregnancy, lone parenting, and worklessness to rival the inner-city areas which have previously been seen as the benchmark for deprivation.

Britain is spending almost £2 billion a year on welfare payments to people of working age in seaside towns.

Former hotels converted into cheap flats in once-thriving beach resorts have attracted people on low incomes and welfare claimants, and are also used by councils in wealthier areas as a low-cost option for placing vulnerable people, like children in care, said the Centre for Social Justice.

The report entitled Turning the Tide, called for action to revive British beach resorts, such as:

  • Rhyl in North Wales

  • Margate in Kent

  • Clacton-on-Sea in Essex

  • Great Yarmouth in Norfolk

  • Blackpool in Lancashire

Dreamland in Margate, Kent. Credit: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

In one part of Rhyl, two-thirds of working-age people are dependent on out-of-work benefits, while 41% of adults in Clacton have no qualifications, said the report.

Out of 20 neighbourhoods across the UK with the highest levels of out-of-work benefits, seven are in coastal towns that once attracted millions of tourists.

  • Of the 10 wards in England and Wales with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, four are in seaside towns with the highest rate in Great Yarmouth.

  • Blackpool local authority has the highest rate of children in care in the whole of England - 150 per 10,000 population - far exceeding the English average of 59.

  • In some neighbourhoods, more than 40% of families with children are fatherless.