Jeremy Corbyn promises to fix ‘blighted’ coastal towns

Jeremy CorbynImage copyright Getty Images

Coastal communities have been “blighted” by “nine years of vicious austerity and Tory cuts”, Jeremy Corbyn will say in a speech on Saturday.

Speaking in Hastings, the Labour leader will pledge to end the “evil of in-work poverty” and “the need for food banks”.

But the Conservatives say seaside areas can benefit from a £3.6bn fund.

BBC analysis this week found that workers living in seaside areas in Britain £1,600 less on average per year than those living inland.

The research also found that two-thirds of coastal areas had seen a real terms fall in wages since 2010.

Speaking in the East Sussex town, a seat Labour is hoping to win from the Conservatives in the next election, Mr Corbyn will say poverty and inequality are “not inevitable”.

“In the fifth-richest country in the world no-one should be forced to rely on a food bank to feed their family, no-one should be sleeping rough on our streets, and nobody should be working for poverty wages.”

Citing parliamentary research, he will say one in five adults in the Hastings and Rye constituency could be in receipt of universal credit when it is fully rolled out.

Universal credit is the benefit for working-age people, replacing six benefits – including income support and housing benefit – and merging them into one payment:

Food banks in the area say they distributed nearly 90,000 meals last year.

Mr Corbyn has said a Labour government would immediately increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour, scrap universal credit and build one million affordable homes over ten years.

He will also trumpet plans, unveiled at the party’s conference, for a future Labour government to invest in new offshore wind farms and use the profits generated from energy sold to improve recreational and leisure facilities in struggling areas.

Labour finished only 346 votes behind the Conservatives in Hastings and Rye in 2017 but the local MP, former home secretary Amber Rudd, recently quit the party and said she would not stand in the constituency.

Defending the government’s record, Minister for Local Growth Jack Berry said: “Thanks to a thriving economy and record employment, the government can afford to invest more in communities across the country – something that would be put at risk with a reckless high-tax, high-debt Corbyn government.”