Future of Seaside Towns - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 1st July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bassam of Brighton Lord Bassam of Brighton Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Further & Higher Education) 9:15 pm, 1st July 2019

My Lords, I shall not detain the House too long in my summary. I have enjoyed the debate. I have had another run round the coast of England this evening as we have debated the various topics and places that your Lordships have referred to; I enjoyed every speech and contribution.

I make one or two pleas. First, we should look at the seaside and the coastal communities not with a sense of nostalgia but with a sense of an opportunity and as a challenge. That is my first point.

The strength of this report is that everyone in the committee was happy to sign up to it. It is content rich, it is bursting full of ideas and it is not complacent. It makes specific demands of government. The demand we need to reinforce today is this: we cannot ignore the seaside communities as they have been over the past decade since the last report. We need to persist and continue to press the Government. It is for the Government’s own good to keep seaside towns and communities at the forefront of our thinking; otherwise, they will undoubtedly end up as part of the two-speed or three-speed national economy that we have. Seaside towns and communities need to be given special consideration. They need a champion in government, champions in local government and strong advocates to press their case. They are special and unique and bring a richness to our country and our culture which other communities express in entirely different ways.

Colleagues have covered the territory well. Education, housing, art-led regeneration, the need for more entrepreneurship, more vision and better leadership have all been dealt with extremely well in the debate. Government has a challenge here. I shall continue to press the case for our coastal and seaside communities. I have invited the Senior Deputy Speaker to give a role to one of the other committees to follow up on the work we have undertaken over the past year—personally, I think the Economic Affairs Committee would be a good place to start. The measures, proposals and recommendations contained in the report need to be agitated for, pursued and concentrated on over the next months and years. The problems will not go away and they will only get worse if we ignore them.

That said, I thank everyone for their participation in the debate and the Minister for his response, and everyone who has indulged in this important debate and report with good humour and good will.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 9.18 pm.