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Centre for Social Justice study says seaside towns including Margate face inner city style poverty levels

Margate faces issues similar to inner cities
Margate faces issues similar to inner cities

Better housing and transport links are vital if seaside towns like Margate are to overcome deep-rooted levels of poverty, a report says.

A study by the Centre for Social Justice has singled out the town as among traditional seaside resorts facing levels of poverty similar to some of the country's most deprived inner city areas.

The report, Turning the Tide, examined five seaside towns: Rhyl in North Wales, Margate, Clacton-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth and Blackpool.

It found that on key measures of poverty - school failure, teenage pregnancy, fatherlessness and lone parenting, and worklessness - they have problems as severe as deprived inner-city areas.

It concluded: "The road to Margate's regeneration is long and there is no quick fix for the malaise of social and economic issues plaguing the area."

It found that the town was continuing to suffer from the effect of government agencies using it as a cheap dumping ground for its 'problem cases'.

Turner Contemporary, Margate
Turner Contemporary, Margate

On the plus side, however, it recognised the work being done by organisations like the Margate Task Force - which brings together 14 different agencies to tackle housing and regeneration - and praised the impact of the Turner Centre.

But it warned that unless efforts were stepped up to make the town more attractive to commuters, the problems would continue.

"Efforts at housing and community regeneration, led by the Margate Task Force, must be continued in order to tackle the problems of poverty already present.

"Perhaps most important is the efforts they have made to engage the local community and simply improve community cohesion, responsibility and decrease visual blighting of neighbourhoods."

It also called for greater efforts to be made to keep families together and to boost the education of young people.

"The road to Margate's regeneration is long and there is no quick fix for the malaise of social and economic issues plaguing the area" - The CSJ report

Almost one third of residents in Margate over 16 have no qualifications at all.

The report said: "This educational failure begins early, as the number of primary school leavers meeting the expected standard is 14 percentage points lower than the national average."

Cllr Iris Johnston, Thanet council's cabinet member for community services, said a lot was already being done.

Policies such as selective licensing, in which private landlords pay the council to operate in Cliftonville West and Margate North, were working to improve the condition of properties.

"We are getting there...the issues are changing day by day. There are good bits and bad bits but there is more optimism now."

Christian Guy, CSJ Director, said: ?"Some of these areas have been left behind. We must ramp up efforts to revive Britain?s coastal towns, not just for visitors but for the people who live there.?"

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