We need to tackle the scourge of geographic inequality—average hourly wages are nearly 30% higher in London than they are in the north-west—and that is why I have asked the Equalities Hub to look beyond protected characteristics and identify additional barriers that people face up and down the country.
Coastal communities such as Lytham St Annes are home to substantial tourism and hospitality sectors. Those sectors have traditionally employed large numbers of women, but they have been particularly hit by the pandemic. Given that inequality in coastal resorts is a long-recognised issue, what plans does my right hon. Friend have to ensure that coastal towns—in Lancashire, especially—can build back better?
We are directing vital support to seaside towns through the £230 million coastal communities fund. We recognise the unique challenges faced by towns such as St Annes, and that will be very much in our thoughts as we look to the £4 billion levelling-up fund and the UK shared prosperity fund. I am pleased to say that we will be publishing prospectives for those shortly, and no doubt my hon. Friend will be interested in applying.