Coastal communities have fallen even further behind the rest of the UK economy and workers in seaside towns now earn almost £5000 less than those elsewhere in the country, a think-tank has revealed. More than 30 coastal areas still have economies smaller than before the 2007 financial crisis. Most of those places voted for Brexit.

People in coastal areas can now also expect to die earlier than those elsewhere, with the latest data showing a growing “death gap” between seaside populations and the rest of Britain.

The Social Market Foundation (SMF) said the figures showed that many coastal towns have “missed out” on much of the economic growth of Britain since the financial crisis and need a special package of help from Boris Johnson’s government.

In a new report entitled “Falling off a cliff?”, the SMF analysed official statistics and found that the gaps between local authority areas on the coast and the rest of the country are widening significantly.

While most of the country saw wages rise from 2017 to 2018, the SMF calculated that coastal workers saw falling incomes.

In 2017, non-coastal workers had an average salary of £29,291. In 2018, that was £30,592. For coastal workers, the average wage was £26,098 in 2017, falling to £25,906 the following year. That means the coastal wage gap rose from £3193 to £4686.

A total of 32 local authority areas with significant coastlines had smaller economies in 2017 than they did in 2007. Of those areas, 24 voted to leave the EU.

The SMF also found a health decline in coastal areas, compared to the rest of the UK, meaning people living by the sea face shorter lives. In the early 2000s there was no significant life expectancy gap for men born in coastal communities. But those born today can now expect to live half a year less than those in other regions. Non-coastal women have a life-expectancy at birth of 83 years, according to SMF analysis of the latest statistics. For coastal community women, it is 82.6 years, a difference of almost five months.

Scott Corfe, SMF research director and the report’s author, said: “Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to help ‘forgotten’ parts of the country. Coastal areas where incomes and lifespans are falling certainly fit that description.”