Coastal towns are falling begin the rest of the UK economically, according to new research from Wilkins Kennedy, which shows the top five towns with the highest bankruptcy rates are all seaside resorts or ports.
Torbay, known as the “English Riviera”, saw the highest number of personal bankruptcies, with 54 new cases per 10,000 adults in the year ending December 2012.
Rhyl & Prestatyn came second with 53, followed by Scarborough and Blackpool (both at 48) and Hull, the new City of Culture, was fifth worst (44).
Anthony Cork, partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Many of our coastal towns have been suffering a slow decline for many years, as tourism struggles to compete with cheap overseas travel, fishing quotas are slashed and other maritime industry has all but died off.
“These figures highlight how desperate their plight still is – with even traditionally popular tourist destinations suffering severe pain.”
“Many will be surprised to see places like Torbay, with its reputation for luring genteel, affluent holiday makers to the ‘English Riviera’ sitting right at the top alongside Blackpool, the UK’s answer to Las Vegas, and more traditional bucket-and-spade resorts like Rhyl and Scarborough.”
According to the new figures, levels of personal bankruptcy in some coastal towns are now double the national average of 25 new cases per 10,000 adults per year.
The research from Wilkins Kennedy comes after BAE Systems announced earlier in November the closure of Portsmouth’s dockyard that will see 940 jobs lost.
Cork said: “Although a few notable exceptions in the south east have benefitted from their proximity to London and diversified their local economies, such as Brighton or Bournemouth, the vast majority all around the country that rely almost exclusively on seasonal tourist trade are struggling badly.”
“The recession has hit hard despite the temptation for more people to stay and holiday in the UK instead of going abroad. For every hot-spot like Newquay or Padstow, there are many more places where flagging tourism plus the lack of permanent, well-paid employment are taking their toll.”