Paul Baker Insurance Services (PBIS) was delighted to provide sponsorship to help park home residents travel to the Park Home Owners’ JUSTICE Campaign Rally at Downing Street and the House of Commons on the 28th of November.
There was a great gathering of residents at the entrance to Downing Street to see campaign founder Sonia McColl, Tony Turner of the Park Home Forum and long-time campaign supporter and sponsor Paul Baker of PBIS to present a letter to No. 10 calling upon the Prime Minister and the Government to urgently review the 10% commission paid to site owners when a park home is sold.
Residents came from all over the country, including parks in Staffordshire, Sussex, Cornwall, Nottinghamshire, Essex, Surrey and Middlesex. After the presentation, residents with a wide range of banners marched to the House of Commons to attend a meeting with MPs and a representative from the department overseeing Park Home issues.
Good News on Pitch Fees!
After four years of Government promises to change the basis upon which pitch fee increases are calculated from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the lower Consumer Price Index (CPI), it was great to hear that a Private Members Bill put forward by Christopher Chope MP, with all-party support, had been accepted and passed to the House of Lords where swift approval is expected. The Bill then needs to have Royal Assent, after which it takes two months to become law.
The difference between RPI and CPI is currently around 3%, so it is significant. It is a shame it has taken so long for such a simple change, but thanks to continued campaigning by residents and the JUSTICE Campaign, we are nearly there.
Sadly, it seems likely that pitch reviews due in the next few months will still be based on RPI.
£400 Energy Payment
At the meeting, residents asked a wide range of questions concerning the payment of the £400 energy benefit. They were told it would be paid directly and not via the park owner but that the process, likely to be via Local Authorities, had still to be determined. How much longer, we wonder! There was a similar response about the £100 additional payment to residents with other heating such as oil or LPG heating.
Further questions covered the 10% commission. The government is still considering the report carried out last year, and no timescale was given for a decision on this crucial issue.
There was a question about pitch fees and how they were supposed to be used. From the report mentioned above, there was widespread feedback from some residents that very little, if any, of it was being spent on the park when surely it was meant to be spent on park maintenance? The answer given was that this would be considered when ‘parliamentary time’ permits- that old chestnut!
There were further questions about local authorities and the police and how they were dealing with, or not dealing with, issues relating to site licensing and harassment and finally, an observation that the costs of park home ownership were spiralling ever upwards with increases in pitch fees and the predicted increases in Council Tax next year.
A Good Day for the JUSTICE Campaign Rally!
Overall, it was a successful rally for the JUSTICE Campaign, an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, share experiences and compare notes and continue to pressure MPs on the myriad of issues facing park home residents. Huge thanks are due to organiser Sonia McColl for all her hard work, carried out almost single-handedly – something which is not sustainable going forward, and the meeting finished with an appeal from Sonia for others to get involved in the ongoing campaign. If you are interested in getting involved, please email her at: email@example.com.
PBIS is the only Park Home insurer to support the JUSTICE Campaign actively and will continue to do so. Supporters of the Campaign are entitled to a 15% discount on their insurance premiums. Although, this is not in addition to the discount already given to members of local or national resident’s associations or those living on ‘Select’ Parks such as those owned by Michael Ward and the Turners Group.