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Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library a copy of the data on rateable values used as the basis for the statement in his Department's press releases of 8 July 2009, Government consults on help with business rate bills, that as a result of revaluation and the relief arrangements one million businesses will see an average decrease of £770 in 2010-11. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The 2010 business rates revaluation will reduce the rates bill for 1,028,500 properties. In total their rates bill will fall by £787,660,000 in 2010-11 after transitional relief but before inflation. That is an average, after rounding, of £770 per property. These figures are based on the same ratings list as used for the consultation document "The Transitional Arrangements for the Non-domestic Rating Revaluation 2010 in England" published on 8 July 2009. The ratings list is a live database and is continually being updated (to reflect appeals, deletions, additions, physical alterations, splits and mergers).
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much of the costs to Government of the Non-Domestic Rating (Deferred Payments) (England) Regulations 2009, referred to in the impact assessment for those Regulations are attributable to (a) bad debt and (b) the value of the discounted repayments being less than the value of the deferred amount. 
Barbara Follett: The Impact Assessment to accompany the Non-Domestic Rating (Deferred Payments) (England) Regulations estimated that between 50 per cent. and 90 per cent. of businesses will choose to defer the increase in their rates bill in 2009-10; and the percentage of revenue that could be written off as bad debt could be between 1 per cent. and 5 per cent. of the total amount deferred. On this basis, the amount of bad debt is estimated to be between £2 million and £20 million in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.
Using the standard discount rate of 3.5 per cent. and assuming between 50 per cent. and 90 per cent. of businesses take up the option to defer the increase in business rates in 2009-10 and that between 1 per cent. and 5 per cent. of payments will be written off as bad debt, the final net present value of the deferral scheme to Government is estimated at between £20 million and £80 million. The rationale behind the standard discount rate can be found in annex 6 of HM Treasury's Green Book.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what percentage of payments due under (a) the business rates deferral scheme and (b) transitional arrangements for the non-domestic ratings revaluation 2010 his Department expects to be written off as bad debt. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Impact Assessment accompanying the Non-Domestic Rating (Deferred Payments) Regulations states that the amount of revenue written off as bad debt resulting from ratepayers choosing to defer the increase in their business rates could be between 1 per cent. and 5 per cent. of the total amount deferred.
No estimate has been made of the percentage of payments that are expected to be written off as bad debt as the transitional arrangements themselves do not lead to any outstanding liabilities which are at risk of bad debt.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the £50,000 threshold for the new supplementary business rate in London will be increased in line with the average increase in rateable values following the 2010 business rates revaluation. 
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from Ministerial colleagues on the effect of the application of retrospective business rates on firms located in ports in the last 12 months. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department maintains regular communications with ministerial colleagues. As was the case with previous administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such communications.
Barbara Follett: Local authorities already have a duty to involve local representatives when carrying out any of their functions and parish and town councils should be consulted as part of the process for submitting proposals under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. A clause to that effect was included in the statutory guidance for local authorities which can be found on the Communities and Local Government website at:
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to ensure that planning application data held by local authorities and collected via a standardised hub connector interface is available to the public. 
The e-Consultation hub is a central computer system, connected to the internet, that facilitates more rapid and efficient consultations between all participants in the planning process. It does not hold data itself but standardises and facilitates the transfer of data between all parties.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps are being taken to ensure that central government bodies which are statutory consultees on planning applications provide comments in a timely manner. 
John Healey: The Government are developing proposals to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of engagement by all statutory consultees, as part of a programme of measures in response to the recommendations of Killian Pretty Review of the planning application process. It is proposed to publish draft proposals for consultation on this matter later in 2009.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in which local authorities core strategies have been rejected by the Planning Inspectorate as unsound; and for what reasons. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Eight authorities have had their core strategy development plan documents found unsound. The authorities are Carrick District Council (as was); Chichester District Council; Lichfield City Council; Ryedale District Council; Stafford Borough Council; Restormel Borough Council (as was); Teignbridge District Council and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many and what proportion of planning applications made in each district or single tier authority were determined by planning inspectors in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The rules for civil servants wishing to undertake political activity are set by the Cabinet Office and can be found in the Civil Service Management Code on the civil service website:
Mr. Ian Austin:
The English House Condition Survey estimates that 11.75 million privately owned properties in England met the Decent Homes standard in 2007
(the most recently available estimate from the survey). These properties comprised 64 per cent. of all privately owned in England.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps the Government has taken to ensure private landlords comply with health and safety legislation in their properties. 
Mr. Ian Austin: The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk-based evaluation tool to help local authorities identify and protect against potential risks and hazards to health and safety from any deficiencies identified in dwellings. It was introduced under the Housing Act 2004 and came into effect on 6 April 2006. It applies to residential properties in England including those in the private rented sector.
The HHSRS assesses 29 categories of housing hazard, each hazard has a weighting which will help determine whether the property is rated as having category 1 (serious) or category 2 (other) hazards. Local authorities are responsible for the local implementation and enforcement of the HHSRS. If a property is found to contain serious hazards, the local authority has a duty to take the most appropriate action in relation to the hazard.
The Housing Act 2004 also introduced mandatory houses in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing which places a duty on private landlords of licensable HMOs to ensure that their properties meet basic health and safety standards.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will amend planning guidance to require provision for high-speed internet access to be made in the construction of major new housing developments. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Planning policy guidance note 8: Telecommunications (PPG8) sets out Government policy on planning and telecommunications states that in considering planning applications for other forms of development, planning authorities will wish to consider telecommunications issues. They should encourage prospective developers of new housing, office and industrial estates to consider with all relevant telecommunications operators how the telecommunications needs of the occupiers will be met. Developers should provide adequate ducting for telecommunications cables (and for other services where appropriate) to be installed at the outset both underground and in the structure of the building, sufficient to meet foreseeable demand for competitive services likely to be provided to those estates.
Local planning authorities should develop and apply their own policies on high-speed internet access in line with this national policy guidance taking into account the development priorities for their area.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are working with interested local authorities and city regions to assess the scope for accelerating development by allowing investment in infrastructure to be financed from the increased property tax base that could be enabled by the existence of improved infrastructure. As part of this, the Government are exploring with local authorities the potential benefits, costs and feasibility of piloting such an approach.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 23 April 2009, Official Report, column 889W, on the Sub-National Review, when he will place in the Library copies of the summaries of the Steering Group meetings. 
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average weekly rent rates were for tenants residing in (a) private housing, (b) housing association and other housing provided by registered social landlords and (c) local authority housing in (i) 2007-08 and (ii) 2008-09. 
Mr. Ian Austin: Average monthly rents for private tenants in England are published on the Communities and Local Government website in table 731. These monthly rents equate to average weekly rents of £129 in 2007-08. Data for private rents in 2008-09 are not yet available. These rent estimates are based on data from the Survey of English Housing.
Average weekly rents for registered social landlords are published on the Communities and Local Government website in table 704. As at 31 March, the average weekly rent in England was £70 in 2008 and was £74 in 2009. These rent figures apply to general needs units only and are collected by the Tenant Services Authority, through the regulatory statistical return.
Average weekly rents for local authorities are published on the Communities and Local Government website in table 702. The average weekly rent in England was £62 in 2007-08 and £64 in 2008-09 (provisional). These rent figures are collected from housing revenue account subsidy forms.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes have been repossessed in (a) Jarrow constituency, (b) South Tyneside, (c) the North-East and (d) England in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Ian Austin: There are two independent sources of data on actual numbers of mortgage possessions: The Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). However both are only available for the United Kingdom as a whole.
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