Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment) Bill

(2nd reading: House of Commons)
Luke Evans Excerpts
Kelly Tolhurst Portrait Kelly Tolhurst
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I am willing to work with my hon. Friend and my officials over the coming weeks, so that we can bring something forward and support something, so that is entirely correct. But as I have said, there are certain parts of the Bill that at this point I am unable to support Bill. However, I hope he will take my assurances from the Dispatch Box as a commitment to do that because when I say things I generally mean them, and I hope that even Opposition Members agree that, if I agree to do something for them, I follow through.

My hon. Friend outlined some of the Bill’s specifics, and I want to move on to those, but the park homes sector plays a vital role in housing, especially for older people. As he said, it provides valued homes for around 180,000 people.

Luke Evans Portrait Dr Luke Evans (Bosworth) (Con)
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I wish to pick up on the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Mrs Wheeler) and the Minister’s point about the elderly. As a GP looking after them, I can say that my experience of dealing with these parks is that elderly people often choose the homes as retirement homes and places to downsize. The danger is that they are vulnerable and if there are unscrupulous people in the parks using technical terms to bolster rates and services, that can be a real worry. Has the Department carried out any impact assessments of what that may look like and how prevalent it is? What can we do to make sure people are informed, so that they understand the information they are given and are not bamboozled by clever salesmen?

Kelly Tolhurst Portrait Kelly Tolhurst
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I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention. It is true that many owners and users of park home sites will be elderly and vulnerable. I have many in my constituency, so I am well aware of some of the challenges for the individuals living there. However, I will caveat that by saying that, although we are talking about malpractice today, a large proportion of park home operators operate their sites in a good way, and have care and respect for the residents. We are talking about a minority today, but I absolutely understand the prevalence. We had a review in 2017 and the Government made a commitment to take forward certain things. That is why I am pleased to stand at the Dispatch Box this afternoon and agree to work with my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch.