Geographic Inequality of Opportunity

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons on 10th February 2021.

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Photo of Mark Menzies Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde

What steps she is taking to tackle geographic inequality of opportunity.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Mark Menzies Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde

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?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.