Leader accompanied by Shadow Minister for Coastal Communities
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was in Southend last week with Shadow Minister for Coastal Communities, Holly Lynch, to launch the party’s coastal communities consultation, aimed at ending the deprivation, unemployment and lack of opportunities in some seaside towns.
Mr Corbyn and Ms Lynch were keen to hear the concerns of residents on the coast. Seaside towns often have smaller economies meaning they suffer from affordability problems in housing, in transport, in energy and in food. The Southend visit on Thursday, November 30 was the first in a wider tour of coastal communities across the country in order to learn more about the problems they face.
Mr Corbyn said: “There are issues in some seaside towns, there’s poverty, often there is homelessness and a lack of opportunity and hope for young people.
“That’s why I’m in Southend – we’ve had a chance to talk to people involved in the local fishing industry, tourism and leisure and various other local businesses.”
As part of Mr Corbyn’s visit to Southend, Essex Chambers of Commerce organised a private round table meeting with some of its Members in Southend to discuss local employment and skills, housing, infrastructure and public services.
A spokesperson for the Chambers of Commerce said: “There was some useful discussion from the varied businesses present and Jeremy and his team took away some key points about the issues that are important to businesses, including the need to improve the town’s road and rail infrastructure, to develop the skills base in and around Southend and encourage the take up of apprenticeships, and what businesses might be able to do to support the less well-off and more vulnerable members of society, not just in Southend but also in the rural areas around South Essex.”
Ms Lynch, who accompanied Mr Corbyn on his visit, also spoke about her concern for the fate of coastal towns, saying a lack of opportunity for young people has accelerated their decline.
She said: “For many of our coastal towns and seaside communities, fishing has been a really important part but it has seen a real decline. For young people, too often we see them moving away for education and job opportunities. What we want to see is those opportunities here.”
Other Shadow Cabinet members will hold similar events around the country in the coming months, each focusing on a key theme, such as healthcare, transport, jobs and industry.