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19 Mar 2008 : Column 1213W—continued

Regeneration: Coastal Areas

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to encourage economic regeneration in coastal resorts. [194034]

John Healey: The Government’s Review of Sub National Economic Development and Regeneration (SNR) will help empower local authorities in coastal resorts and other areas to drive local prosperity, economic growth and regeneration. My Department will issue a consultation document on the SNR shortly. This will include a proposal for a new statutory duty on local authorities to carry out an economic assessment of their area, in consultation with local partners, and take account of their wider economic area. The assessment will also support the development of new integrated regional strategies.

The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have a key role to play in helping coastal areas in their regions to achieve their full economic potential, as part of wider regional strategies to deliver sustainable growth. The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) through its regional presence will also support the delivery of sustainable regeneration and growth in coastal areas.

My Department is supporting the South East Economic Development Agency (SEEDA) in setting up an RDA-led Coastal Areas Network. This will play an important role in bringing together national, regional and local authority stakeholders to improve co-ordination and sharing best practice in delivering economic growth and regeneration in coastal towns. The first meeting of the Network is scheduled for May.

This Network complements a cross-government working group on coastal towns, led by my Department, which is promoting a co-ordinated approach to addressing issues affecting coastal towns, including economic regeneration.

Geraldine Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to encourage economic regeneration in coastal resorts. [194246]


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John Healey: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given today to question 194034.

Sustainable Development: Urban Areas

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the Answer to the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz) of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 53W, on sustainable development: urban areas, when the first eco-town will be completed. [194368]

Caroline Flint: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr. Pickles) on 28 January 2008, Official Report, column 120W.

Temporary Accommodation: Tamworth

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many households were housed in temporary accommodation by Tamworth Borough Council in each year since 1997. [187759]

Mr. Iain Wright: Information about local authorities’ actions under homelessness legislation is collected quarterly at local authority level. This information includes the number of households accepted by local authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty. The duty owed to an accepted household is to secure suitable accommodation. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority may secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes available.

Tables summarising homelessness figures for each local authority for the past 10 years, including the total number of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each year, have been placed in the House of Commons Library. An extract from the table is provided as follows and gives the number of households in temporary accommodation in Tamworth as at the end of each financial year, from 1997-08 to 2006-07:

Table B: Number of house holds in temporary accommodation , March 1998 to March 2007
Tamworth

1997-98

83

1998-99

88

1999-2000

92

2000-01

105

2001-02

94

2002-03

83

2003-04

(1)

2004-05

131

2005-06

(1)__

2006-07

63

(1)( )Denotes data not reported

The figures include those households who have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty, those for which inquiries into whether they are owed the duty are pending and those who were found to be intentionally homeless but are being accommodated for a reasonable period by the LA. It excludes households designated as “homeless at home”, that have remained in their existing
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accommodation and have the same rights to suitable alternative accommodation as those in accommodation arranged by the authority.

Data are also published in our quarterly statistical release on Statutory Homelessness, which includes a supplementary table showing the breakdown of key data, including temporary accommodation for each local authority. The supplementary tables are published on our website and placed in the Library each quarter. The latest release was published on 10 March 2008 and contains data for the period October to

December 2007:

Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee: Business Interests

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether members of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee are required to (a) submit declarations of interests to a monitoring officer and (b) make a declaration of their political activity on taking up the post. [193364]

Caroline Flint: The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee currently consists of nine members. Seven of those members are members of the corporation board, appointed to the board by the Secretary of State. They were appointed to the planning committee by the chairman of the corporation.

Two members of the planning committee are not members of the board. They were appointed by the chairman of the board with the consent of the Secretary of State, following an appointment process involving advertising the position, shortlisting and interviews.

All members of the planning committee (board and non board) have to complete a corporation declaration of interest form and keep this updated. At each planning committee meeting members have to declare any interests.

All members of the planning committee (board and non board) have to comply with the corporation’s code of practice, which contains guidance on acceptable political activities. As part of the appointment process for non board members all applicants were required to complete a political activity questionnaire.

Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee: Pay

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the annual remuneration is of (a) a member and (b) the chairman of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee. [193366]

Caroline Flint: The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation Planning Committee currently consists of nine members. Seven of those members are members of the corporation board, appointed to the board by the Secretary of State. They were appointed to the planning committee by the chairman of the corporation.


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Two members of the committee are not members of the board. They were appointed by the chairman of the board with the consent of the Secretary of State, following an appointment process involving advertising the position, shortlisting and interviews.

Corporation board members are not paid any additional amount for being on the planning committee. This is included in their normal board remuneration fee.

Non board members are paid on a daily rate. It is estimated that they will receive £6,000 per annum related to planning committee activity.

Valuation Office

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will place in the Library a copy of the Valuation Office Agency's standard form, VO6403. [194815]

John Healey: A copy of the Valuation Office Agency's form used to record information about a licensed property if inspected (VO6403) has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Valuation Office: Publications

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date the Valuation Office Agency document Dwellinghouse coding: An Illustrated Guide was (a) first published and (b) most recently updated. [194024]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the former Local Government Minister on 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 1596-97W.

Village Halls: Finance

Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she last discussed the funding of village halls with the Secretaries of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and for Culture, Media and Sport. [189348]

Mr. Dhanda: The Secretary of State has held no such discussions.

Treasury

Child Benefit: Fraud

Lynne Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many attempts to defraud the child benefit system through the use of false documents were made in each of the last five years; what steps have been taken to detect these; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of these measures; and if he will make a statement. [195097]

Jane Kennedy: Rigorous checks are carried out on all claims to child benefit prior to payment. The most recent estimate of the level of child benefit fraud indicates that it is around 0.2 per cent. of the payments made.


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Child Benefit: Overseas Residence

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what information is disclosed to other EU countries in order for them to verify claims for child benefit or its equivalent made by UK citizens in those countries. [195042]

Jane Kennedy: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark) on 26 November 2007, Official Report, column 48W.

A copy of the E 400 series forms, which are used by member states to verify the composition of the family in the state and to gather information about entitlement to family benefits in the state of residence are published in the Official Journal (OJ) of the European Union (OJ ref.: L129 of 23.5.2005).

Children: Death

Norman Lamb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children have died as a result of drug dependency on the part of their mothers in the last 12 months. [195442]

Angela Eagle: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 19 March 2008:

Cole Layer Trumble

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much has been spent on payments to Cole Layer Trumble/Tyler Technologies funded via the public purse (a) directly from the Valuation Office Agency, (b) directly from HM Revenue and Customs and (c) indirectly via CapGemini under the ASPIRE contract. [194771]

Jane Kennedy: For payments to between 2003-04 and 2005-06 I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 January 2007, Official Report, column 1328W by the then Minister for Local Government my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East and Saddleworth (Mr. Woolas). Subsequent payments have totalled £481,646 in the year 2006-07 and £40,217 (to end February 2007) in the year 2007-08. All figures exclude non-recoverable VAT.

Council Tax: Appeals

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 1 February 2008, Official Report, column 688W, on council tax: appeals, how many individual domestic properties in England had their council tax band reduced as a result of a council tax appeal made by them or by a property in the vicinity in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08. [194838]


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Jane Kennedy: There are approximately 22.4 million homes in England. The numbers of valid proposals to alter council tax valuation lists in respect of these, received in the last three years (to October 2007, the latest figures available), which have resulted in a lower banding, are as follows:

Valid proposals resulting in a lower banding

2005-06

9,756

2006-07

4,698

2007-08 (to October 2007)

249


Information about re-bandings following an appeal made by a property in the vicinity can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Council Tax: Parking

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) of 5 March 2008, Official Report, column 2497W, on council tax: parking, how many domestic dwellings in England have been assigned the value significant codes of (a) VC, (b) VE, (c) VH, (d) VI, (e) VL, (f) VM, (g) VO, (h) VP, (i) VR and (j) VS. [194836]

Jane Kennedy: As at 3 March 2008 the relevant numbers were:

Number

VC

9,150

VE

25,667

VH

2,945

VI

1,632

VL

1,436

VM

466

VO

19,969

VP

3,192

VR

12,239

VS

3,200


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