Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): Following the closure of Buxton courthouse in my constituency, the previous Minister decided, following my representations, that the work should go to Stockport, not Chesterfield, as had originally been intended. However, a sign has now appeared on the disused courthouse saying that the work has gone to Chesterfield. Will my hon. and learned Friend please investigate this and ensure that the decision made by the Minister is implemented, rather than the one envisaged by the officials in the original, flawed consultation?

The Minister for Courts and Justice (Sir Oliver Heald): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising this issue. He will be pleased to hear that I have had that notice taken down. The response to the consultation stated that the work would go to Stockport and Chesterfield, and that is what is happening.

Hansard Source

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): 8. What steps his Department is taking to support high street retailers.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Marcus Jones): This Government are supporting our high streets to thrive. We have introduced the biggest-ever cut in business rates, worth £6.7 billion, launched the high street pledge and the digital high street pilots, and introduced a fairer parking regime and sensible planning changes, and we are celebrating our high streets through the hugely successful annual Great British High Street competition.

Andrew Bingham: The high streets in my constituency—in places such as Buxton and Glossop—are very much the hub of the town, so anything my hon. Friend can do to ensure we do not sit on our laurels and think, “We’ve done it” would be welcome. Will he tell me that we will continue to look to help the high street? As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will confirm following his visit to Glossop last year, it has a vibrant, happening high street that is crucial to the community.

Mr Jones: The Government are absolutely taking action to protect our much-loved high streets. We have introduced the biggest-ever cut in business rates, which will mean that 600,000 of the smallest businesses will not have to pay business rates again. Just last week, I also announced the high street pledge, under which 40 of our country’s largest multiple retailers have signed up to local managers taking part in local initiatives to support the high street. I know my hon. Friend’s area and towns such as Glossop, and they are fantastic places for people to live, work, shop and socialise. I would encourage him to encourage his local areas to put some of those towns forward for the Great British High Street competition 2016.

Hansard Source

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): I applaud my hon. Friend for securing this very important debate. My constituency of High Peak does not qualify as part of south Manchester, even though economically it looks to south Manchester. Does she agree that, although the transport links within south Manchester are crucial, to make the northern powerhouse work we have to get the trans-Pennine links that the Minister knows well from visiting my constituency—the A628 and the A57, the links from Greater Manchester across to Sheffield and the rest of Yorkshire—working well? They are just as vital as other links for what she is trying to achieve.

Mary Robinson (Cheadle) (Con): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. Indeed, it is the wider links across the region that need to be considered in this discussion, because we need to do business and we need to change, and we need to make that change a change for the better, with the potential to generate local and international business, creating global connectivity for Britain’s second city, as well as for the periphery.

Hansard Source

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): The situation in the Maldives continues to deteriorate. What steps have been taken to persuade its Government to change its current trajectory?

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Hugo Swire): We are extremely concerned. We strongly encourage the Government of the Maldives to engage constructively with both the United Nations and the Commonwealth envoys and to implement all of the recent recommendations of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. It is crucial that concrete progress is delivered by CMAG’s September meeting. We are also considering bilateral action, including exclusion orders against senior members of the Government and the judiciary.

Hansard Source

Andrew Bingham (High Peak) (Con): Thanks to the Conservatives in government, community groups now have the right to protect facilities and other much loved buildings or land by listing them as assets of community value. How many of these assets have been listed in such a way and, more importantly, what support is available to local communities to take up this exciting opportunity?

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Marcus Jones): More than 3,000 assets of community value have been listed to date, including 256 sports facilities. On the support we are offering, we fund the My Community website and network, which provides information, case studies and resources for people interested in taking up community rights and getting involved in their local neighbourhood. I congratulate my hon. Friend, as I understand he has organised another massive fundraising day, which this time is a golf day rather than a cricket day. I wish him every success, because over a number of years he has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity.

Hansard Source

Get Involved