Plan to create 160,000 coastal jobs

17 November 2016, at 12:00am

The New Economics Foundation has launched an ambitious action plan to revitalise the UK's coast.

Developed in partnership with hundreds of individuals, communities and businesses, the Blue New Deal aims to reverse years of economic and social decline by giving local people the tools they need to change their lives right now, drawing on everyday experiences to build real solutions.

Britain’s 11m coastal residents face unique and urgent challenges: higher levels of underemployment, economic inequality and educational underachievement than those living further inland; on top of greater vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and the declining health of the UK’s marine environment.

Coastal communities feel abandoned by the political elite. Traditional livelihoods have disappeared, without new industries or investment to fill the gaps. Britain’s pending exit from the EU threatens to undermine recent coastal conservation efforts and bring further division to towns and cities.

But the marine environment is a unique asset, with huge economic and social potential. Already Britain’s coasts are dotted with innovative, community-led regeneration projects - from sustainable shellfish farming in Wales to a world-leading hub for renewable energy in Orkney.

The Foundation’s action plan for a Blue New Deal means working with and supporting communities to take control of their futures, developing an inclusive and outward-looking agenda to revive coastal economies.

The Foundation’s action plan identifies 20 priorities, including greater local control over public goods and services, additional investment, closer partnerships between different areas, authorities and industries, and commitment to clean, sustainable coastal waters.

By building on existing experience and resources, the measures outlined in the Blue New Deal Action Plan could support up to 160,000 additional jobs and create £7.2 billion additional income in coastal Local Authorities .

The Blue New Deal Action Plan launches with an event in Parliament this afternoon, with cross-party support from 25 MPs and local coastal organisations.

The Foundation’s agenda shows that transformative economic reform that meets people’s deep desire for more control is possible.

Marc Stears, Chief Executive of the Foundation, said: “The Brexit vote this summer was a wake-up call. Across the UK there is a clear need for a new economy - one based on an inclusive and outward-looking agenda that will help people really take control of their lives.”

“Britain’s coastal communities are dotted with innovative new projects but they have not been given the support or attention they deserve. Our action plan aims to build on those ideas and create opportunities for fundamental, wide-scale change.”

“There has never been a more urgent time for communities across the UK to come together and take control of their shared futures. The New Economics Foundation is the only think tank working with communities in all regions of the UK to help make their voices heard.”