BLACKPOOL has topped a table to find the UK’s worst areas for bankruptcy in 2011.
In a report by debt advice group ClearDebt, using statistics provided by the Insolvency Service, 57 people per every 10,000 are bankrupt in the town.
The report paints a bleak picture for seaside resorts in general across the country.
Low wages and high unemployment have pushed coastal communities to the top of the league table for bankruptcy and other forms of individual financial failure.
Last year, six of the 10 local authorities with the highest rate of insolvency per head of population were on the coast.
Apart from Blackpool, they included Torbay, Devon, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, Denbighshire, Hull, East Yorkshire, and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. The other four were inland – Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, Tamworth, Staffordshire, Redditch, Worcestershire and Swindon, Wiltshire.
Of the eight communities appearing most frequently in the annual bankruptcy top 10 list, only one – Basildon in Essex – was inland.
A ClearDebt spokesman said: “Increasingly, cheap flights abroad have been highly detrimental to Britain’s tourism industry.
“Beach tourism, with its reliance on sun and heat, is likely to be disproportionately damaged and, of course, is necessarily coastal.
“The number of holiday visits abroad by British residents has increased by a factor of 14 per cent in the past 50 years.”
A day at the seaside ranks low in the nation’s leisure choices, according to Natural England.
Eight per cent of day trips involve sport or similar activity, with more than 12 per cent involve shopping and only one per cent involve ‘visiting the beach, sunbathing or paddling in the sea’.
In contrast, 18 per cent involve ‘walking, hill walking or rambling’.
Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys feels the statistics relate to a number of factors.
He said: “Obviously it’s a concern seaside towns and resorts are having problems like this.
“I believe personally that it is a reflection on the enterprising nature of people in the town that may explain why Blackpool has topped this table.
“Many entrepreneurs want to give their business a go, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
“I think generally speaking businesses are doing well, but a seaside economy lends itself more to summer months, with statistics showing people tend to be booking cheap flights abroad and leaving the UK, rather than supporting our seaside resorts, like Blackpool.”
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden added: “Unfortunately these figures do not give a breakdown in terms of individual bankruptcy, or that of small businesses, but I feel it’s a sign of the times economically.
“The last government tried to help small businesses with various schemes but these figures reflect a worrying trend, in particular for Blackpool.”