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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consultation was undertaken with businesses based in ports before the decision was taken to make retrospective demands for business rates on UK port occupiers. 
Mr. Iain Wright:
Planning Policy Guidance Notes 15 and 16 set out Government policy on, respectively, Planning and the Historic Environment, and Archaeology and Planning. They explain and provide guidance on the robust regime for protecting listed buildings, conservation areas and other heritage assets that is
enshrined in legislation, and are valued by stakeholders as key heritage protection documents. We recognise the need to keep these documents up to date, and are currently revising them in consultation with officials in English Heritage and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Mr. Iain Wright: We have made no assessment of the effectiveness of our Good Practice Guidance on Planning for Tourism. However, the Department for Culture Media and Sport has been engaging proactively with local authorities and business since the publication of the guide in May 2006 to ensure its effective implementation.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress her Department has made with HM Treasury on the national regeneration framework in seaside towns. 
John Healey: The wide economic and social variations between individual seaside towns underline the need for local regeneration solutions that are integrated within wider sub-regional and regional strategiesan approach set out in the Governments Regeneration Framework consultation document issued in July 2008. These variations are highlighted in the Departments recent report, Englands Seaside TownsA Benchmarking Study, published in November.
During the consultation period on the framework, which closed at the end of October, my officials met with many stakeholders including those with interests in seaside towns. We are currently considering responses to the consultation document with the aim of publishing a final framework early in 2009. The framework is being taken forward in close co-operation with Treasury officials and other Government Departments.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department has taken to improve its arrangements for co-ordination of policy with other Government departments on coastal towns since the publication of the Communities and Local Government Committees Second Report of Session 2006-07, Coastal Towns, HC 351. 
John Healey: My Department established a cross-departmental working group on coastal towns in February 2008, comprising officials from eight Departments (BERR, CLG, DCMS, DfT, DIUS, DOH, DEFRA, and DWP), the Government Offices for the Regions and key government agenciesthe Environment Agency, Commission for Rural Communities and Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will bring forward proposals to establish a permanent network to facilitate the spread of best practice in coastal town regeneration. 
John Healey: The Coastal Towns Network, which is led by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and includes central Government Departments, local authorities, regional development agencies (RDAs) and national coastal town networks, provides a forum for facilitating the dissemination of best practice in coastal town regeneration.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the work of each regional improvement and efficiency partnership in respect of the principal seaside towns in England which lie in their areas. 
John Healey: Information of the work of each Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (RIEPs) in respect of the principal seaside towns is not held centrally. However, we are continually monitoring the progress of the RIEPs and a full assessment of RIEP progress will be available when the annual end of year report is produced next year.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the Answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 175W, on planning, when her Department plans to publish a summary of responses to its consultation on the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. 
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many properties in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North East and (d) England are privately rented; 
Mr. Iain Wright: Annual estimates of the stock of privately rented properties in the North East and in England are set out in table 1. Annual estimates for South Tyneside and Jarrow are not available.
|Table 1: Estimated stock of privately rented properties 1997-2006|
CLG live table 109
Based on the recent report The Private Rented Sector: its contribution and potential, published by the Centre for Housing Policy, University of York, the number of private landlords in England in 2006, excluding resident landlords, is estimated to have been about 1.2 million. Reliable estimates of the number of private landlords are not available at below national level.
The question asks for the number of registered private tenants. However, private tenants are not required to register, so the figures in table 2 are survey-based estimates of the number of households in the private rented sector for the North East and for England, 1997 to 2007. Estimates are only available at regional and national level.
|Table 2: Estimated number of households in the private rented sector 1997-2007|
Office for National Statistics, Labour Force Survey
The most recent estimate of the number of households in the private rented sector in South Tyneside, from the 2001 Census, was 3,259. The comparable Census 2001 figures for South Tyneside, North East and England were as follows:
|Table 3: Number of households in the private rented sector, estimated from the 2001 Census|
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she intends to publish her response to the findings of the Rugg Report on the private rented sector; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Iain Wright: We will be responding to the Julie Rugg and David Rhodes review of the private rented sector within our forthcoming housing reform Green Paper. Ministers are currently considering the full range of evidence and policy issues for the Green Paper in its entirety and as such no decision has been made on timing for its publication. At the same time, we are discussing initial views on Rugg/Rhodess interesting and helpful review with key stakeholders. Those discussions will inform our initial response to the review.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which telephone advice lines are funded from the public purse to provide advice to those facing repossessions; how much funding the Government have provided to financial advice lines in each of the last five years; and how many incoming calls have been (a) received and (b) answered by each of those advice lines in each of the last 12 months. 
Mr. Iain Wright: National Debtline (NDL) is a free, confidential and independent national telephone helpline for people with debt problems in England, Scotland and Wales. NDL also offer expert advice on the full range of debt related problems for example rent arrears, mortgage/repossession etc. The service can be accessed via the telephone, email and written inquiries. Government part funds the National Debtline (NDL) with industry through contributions by BERR, MoJ and the Scottish Executive.
Community Legal Advice (CLA) is the telephone helpline of the Legal Services Commission (LSC), a non -departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. In addition to the telephone service, the LSC also funds 88 Housing Possession Court Duty Schemes in 113 courts throughout England and Wales to provide on-the-day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings. These figures include those schemes that will start from next week, following a recent tender process. The schemes allow anyone in danger of eviction or having their property repossessed to get free legal advice and representation on the day of their hearing, regardless of their financial circumstances.
In addition, the PBR announced further measures to help householders facing financial difficulties, including £5.85 million additional investment to March 2011 in telephone advice and £10 million to March 2010 invested in Citizens Advice Bureaux to expand face-to-face debt advice capacity.
Government have also allocated £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over the next three years to tackle and prevent homelessness in their area. Many local authorities will use some of this money to fund advice agencies or Citizen Advice Bureaux to provide an advisory service. We also provide £2.5 million funding to the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS) which is a partnership between Shelter and the Citizens Advice Bureaux ((CABx) providing high quality advice on homelessness prevention through the network of participating CABx and other voluntary agencies across England.
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