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Study shows North Somerset is home to the top coastal economy in South after two decades of growth

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 September 2017

Clevedon Beach.

Clevedon Beach.

Archant

North Somerset is home to the top coastal economy in the South, a new study has revealed.

Despite a widening gap between most seaside towns and other communities in Britain, North Somerset has enjoyed two decades of growth which has seen the district’s economy grow more than any other in the South of England.

North Somerset Council’s deputy leader, Elfan Ap Rees, welcomed the news.

He said: “This is great news for North Somerset and testament to the huge amount of work that’s been undertaken in recent years to strengthen our local economy.

“We really do punch above our weight regionally and nationally, and this news will give further confidence to businesses that this is the right place for them to be if they want their business to grow.”

The figures were compiled by the Social Market Foundation’s Living On The Edge think-tank, which examined economic and social deprivation in seaside communities from 1997-2015.

The report said: “There has been a widespread belief that the economies of coastal towns have performed poorly relative to the rest of the country, with a lack of well-paid job opportunities.

“The economic gap between coastal and non-coastal communities has widened.

“In Britain, economic output was 23 per cent lower in coastal communities compared with non-coastal communities.

“Among the 98 coastal local authorities, 85 per cent had mean pay levels below the average across Britain in 2016.”

The report also found discrepancies between health, unemployment and education between coastal and non-coastal communities.

In the wake of the study, the Government’s Coastal Communities minister Jake Berry pledged £40million to ‘help attract even more visitors to the Great British Coast so coastal communities can thrive’.

But North Somerset is bucking the trend, with economic output, or gross value added, per head of the population standing at 101 per cent, which is significantly better than the national average of 78 per cent.

North Somerset ranks as the fifth-best coastal community in economic output, and is the only local authority area south of Lancashire to make the top 10.

The district also enjoys a lower unemployment rate and higher wages than the national average.

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