In 2019, House of Lords’ Regeneration of Seaside Towns and Communities Committee published their report and recommendations for government (please click here to view). Today, the House of Lords’ Liaison Committee held their evidence sessions looking into how these recommendations have been delivered and the impact that any delivery has had.
Our Lead Officer, Beccy MacDonald-Lofts, represented the LGA Coastal SIG at the first evidence session on Monday 20 March providing comprehensive evidence of the impact of levelling up on coastal communities and the challenges that they face.
The questions posed by the Committee centred around the funding formulas, funding mechanisms and the Levelling Up White Paper outcomes including the proposed devolution mechanism and the amalgamation of coastal LEPs.
The main points raised on behalf of the LGA Coastal SIG were:
- Changes in the physical, human and natural capital have changed the needs of coastal communities since the publication of the Regeneration of Seaside Towns and Communities Committee Report;
- The current funding mechanisms are not delivering for coastal communities;
- Funding mechanisms need to move away from short-term (> 3 years) delivery and need to be longer (> 9 years) to support real change of embedded barriers to regeneration;
- Funding mechanisms need to be more strategic with a focus on an overall objectives; allowing different sectors to collaborate with local authorities to deliver for these unique communities;
- The metrics used in assessing Levelling Up need and delivery are not granular enough to ensure an accurate assessment of impact upon coastal communities;
- The amalgamation of the Coastal Communities Fund into the Shared Prosperities Fund has not only reduced the input of the amount being incorporated from the profits of the Crown Estate but there is a question over whether this money is ring-fenced for coastal communities;
- The Communities on the Edge Report was praised for it’s comprehensive review of the impact of Levelling Up on coastal communities;
- The agenda for improving transport and digital connectivity has not delivered and many communities are without the necessary transport connections to support regeneration nor have basic digital connectivity;
- The opportunity that devolution offers is seen as a positive move forwards, allowing for local areas to have the autonomy that is needed for such complex and unique communities;
- The amalgamation of LEPs into local authorities could enhance local authority offer but could also mean that the network of Coastal Community LEPs – reformed after a recommendation of the Committee’s Report – could be lost impacting their participation with the OneCoast coalition Advisory Group.
The Communities on the Edge Report, produced by Pragmatix Advisory through funding from the LGA Coastal SIG, Coastal Communities Alliance, Coastal Partnership Network and other partners, proved invaluable and has clearly made an impression upon those within the Committee. To view this Report please click here.