Coastal Regeneration

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th July 2016.

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Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney 12:00 am, 18th July 2016

What steps his Department is taking to regenerate the Great British coast.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

The Government recognise that coastal communities face particular challenges but have huge economic potential. We have already invested £120 million in 211 coastal communities fund projects and have provided £10,000 to each of the 118 coastal community teams.

Photo of Peter Aldous Peter Aldous Conservative, Waveney

I welcome the Secretary of State to his place. While a great deal is taking place to regenerate coastal towns such as Lowestoft, there is a concern, as highlighted by the British Hospitality Association last week, that such initiatives are not co-ordinated. In the first full week of the new Government, I urge the Secretary of State to appoint a Minister to work across Departments to address that concern.

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My hon. Friend works hard on his constituents’ behalf and has already helped to secure almost £2 million from the coastal communities fund for his area, but he makes an excellent point about cross-Government co-operation. I am pleased to announce that my hon. Friend Andrew Percy is the Minister who will take responsibility for this area, so we can all be assured that it is in very safe hands. I also want to thank my right hon. Friend Mr Francois for all his excellent work.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)

My constituency has many coastal destinations that would be attractive to anyone—not just those in my area. The Secretary of State will be aware of the cross-party, cross-regional group within Westminster that has been meeting regularly over the past few months. What discussions has he had with the Northern Ireland Assembly and with other regions to ensure that we can do this together?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, at this point I have not had any discussions with my colleagues in Northern Ireland, but I can reassure him that they will be a priority, because it is good to talk and to co-ordinate even where policies are devolved.

Photo of Huw Merriman Huw Merriman Conservative, Bexhill and Battle

Commuters returning home to the glories of Milton Keynes can do so in just over 30 minutes. Travelling the same distance to Bexhill takes almost 2 hours. Is the Secretary of State willing to work with me and my neighbour, my right hon. Friend Amber Rudd, to try to bring High Speed 1 trains down from Ashford to Hastings and Bexhill?

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

My hon. Friend makes a good point. I am more than happy to listen to his case and to work with the Secretary of State for Transport, because the issue will involve both Departments.