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Seaside towns ‘are struggling’

Seaside towns ‘are struggling’
13 April 2011

Seaside towns have had the highest number of business failures in recent years and are too reliant on tourism, according to research.

A study completed by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young revealed that Blackpool, Southend, Poole and Preston were all languishing near the bottom of a league table for business creation, while previous ‘hotbed’ areas such as Bournemouth and Southampton also struggled.

Poole finished bottom of the pile after losing almost 24 businesses in 2009, a year after the town managed to create six ventures per 10,000 people.

The report highlighted that seaside towns struggled to compete with the economic diversity of their big city counterparts and had become too reliant on tourism.

Meanwhile Manchester, Oxford, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee managed to finish near the top of the table.

Overall, figures showed that Britain lost more than 43,000 businesses during 2009, as Aberdeen and Oxford were the only places to create more businesses than they lost.

London slumped from being top of the tree to finishing in 24th place in just one year, as it suffered a net loss of more than 4,500 businesses.

Marc Waterman of UHY Hacker Young said: “Seaside towns have never recovered from the collapse of their traditional maritime and tourist industries. Whilst these towns have tried to diversify their economies from reliance on a dwindling tourist spend, that diversification has been a mixed success.

“For example, where they have won financial services jobs those have often been in back office work that is seen as adding little value.

“Any bounce from the ‘staycation’ was wiped out by the cancellation of business conferences, exhibitions and seminars that seaside towns would normally do very well from. Businesses, like consumers, reigned in discretionary spending during the recession and those seaside towns who relied on their business suffered.”

Copyright © Press Association 2011

UHY Hacker Young

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