Skegness among top towns most in danger of economic crisis from pandemic, research shows – Nottinghamshire Live

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Skegness and Maplethorpe have topped a list of towns shown to be most economically at risk due to coronavirus.

Lincolnshire Live reported new research has shown the two coastal towns came first and second in a list of places most likely to fall into economic hardship.

As the UK heads towards its sixth week in lockdown, the impact on businesses and local economies has been severe.

Government measures forced the closure of arcades, restaurants, pubs and other small businesses along the coast creating extreme challenges at a time of year when it would normally be thriving on tourism.

The research by the Centre For Towns and the University of Southampton for Sky News shows that half of England and Wales’ coastal towns are among the top 10 per cent of places most in danger.

The two most at risk are popular tourist hotspots Skegness and Mablethorpe, with Clacton-on-Sea, Bridlington and Kinmel Bay making up the rest of the top five.

Comparatively, towns further in-land in the county such as Lincoln and Grantham are all at lower risk, though all are still in the top half for England and Wales.

Skegness Town Mayor, Cllr Mark Dannatt said the findings of the report were not surprising.

“We have a lot of vulnerable people and obviously seasonal work isn’t happening,” he said.

“It’s really quiet.

“I think this year can be wiped out because even if lockdown gets lifted in the summer, there will still be social distancing, so holidaymakers won’t come and obviously pubs and cafes will struggle which is a large part of our economy,” he added.

Lincolnshire County Councillor for Skegness North, Carl Macey, said he hoped Skegness could be open for business by the summer.

“We’ve just got to live in hope of it returning to normal in July-time,” he said.

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“We want to get open as soon as possible but obviously people’s safety is more important.

“There’s a huge danger to the town. The summer is what pays for the winter here so we hope it can be back up and running soon.

Councillor Carl Tebbut, who is the Town Mayer of Mablethorpe and Sutton on Sea, thinks businesses in the area will need major financial help to survive the impact of the lockdown.

“We’re already an area with fairly high deprivation in the first place, so to deprive us of the one thing we have in tourism is a tragedy,” he explained.

“It’s a terrible situation for anyone who relies on visitors.

“I think there will need to be a lot of government support. The government will have to make concessions to help coastal towns once the summer has been and gone.”

Cllr Tebbutt is worried that Mablethorpe will miss its summer tourism boom completely because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I don’t think this summer season is going to happen – I hate to say it,” he explained.

“I can’t see that the government is going to reopen everything straight away,” Cllr Tebbutt added.

The study calculated the proportion of each town’s population that is employed in industries that are temporarily shut down. Coastal towns, where the majority of income is tourism-based, suffer the most.

The research was then analysed against other indicators of deprivation including social and economic well-being, how well-linked a town is and the proportion of the population that are elderly and dependent.

Industrial towns like Scunthorpe (which placed 80th on the list) are also at high risk.