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Eric Pickles (The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; Brentwood and Ongar, Conservative)

I am today announcing the launch of the Government’s “Coastal Communities Fund” which will allow seaside towns to seize the opportunity to boost economic growth along our coast.

This fund was first announced by the Chief Secretary for the Treasury in July 2011 and I am now publishing the prospectus which sets out the delivery arrangements for the fund and the criteria that will be used to assess bids.

The fund will be equal to 50% of the revenues generated by the Crown Estate’s marine assets. The fund is UK-wide, with allocations to the devolved Administrations on the basis of revenue generated by the Crown Estate’s marine assets. The devolved Administrations will have country specific boards who will work with the Big Lottery Fund to deliver this fund on the ground. In 2012 the fund will be worth £23.7 million, and the allocations will be:

England—£18.2 million

Scotland—£3.9million (Highlands and Islands—£1.85 million. Rest of Scotland—£2.05 million)

Wales—£1.15 million

Northern Ireland—£0.45 million

Coastal towns often missed out on the economic growth of the past decade that centered on London. Smaller seaside towns are also more reliant on the tourist trade and retirement and lack the more diverse economic base of many larger towns.

Seaside towns have shown they can build stronger, more diverse economies when given the chance. This fund will give them the chance to transform economic growth along our coast and unleash their potential to create businesses and jobs. The fund underlines our commitment to supporting coastal towns so they can benefit from the growth in marine revenues generated by the Crown Estate as it develops its coastal and offshore resources.

We have worked with the Big Lottery “Big Fund” to establish how the fund will work and the timetable for its introduction. The deadline for applications in 2012 will be September, with winners announced in December. In England and Wales there will also be a fast-track process with a deadline in May 2012 and allocations in July.

I want to encourage quality bids from the many different types of organisations that support economic development including charities, social enterprises, voluntary organisations, local businesses as well as local authorities and local enterprise partnerships. The Big Lottery’s “Big Fund” will deliver the Coastal Communities Fund and will be issuing more detailed guidance shortly.

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