Park Home Residents Group
Plenary Tuesday 21 March 201715:22:31
Spoken Contribution – 15:22:31
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Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer, and thanks to the Minister for today’s statement. We do welcome the statement, because we are very sympathetic in UKIP to the concerns of the park home residents. Some of the UKIP Members did meet today with the residents, and it became clear that one of their ongoing concerns is that the Welsh Government consultation is viewed by many of them as simply a means of kicking the issue of the sales commission into touch. There is a petition that has been circulating at the Assembly since 2013 on this issue. A debate took place in 2014, in which the then Minister promised that the Welsh Government would undertake research into the economic impact of the commission rate—so, we have taken rather a long time to get to this point. I do appreciate the need to gather evidence before the Government takes a decision, but I would ask, as my first question, why it has taken so long to get here.
Secondly, many of the residents have complained of the difficulty of meeting with Ministers as a residents’ group, so do you now have plans to meet with the residents as part of your consultations? We feel in UKIP that the service that the park home owners previously supplied in facilitating the sale of these homes is no longer provided, so the 10 per cent commission has become simply a sales tax. Unfortunately, many of the residents, as other speakers have mentioned, are elderly people, with a need in some cases to move into sheltered housing. The 10 per cent tax levied on them does severely limit their capital, and hence restricts their ability to move into suitable alternative accommodation. So, we would support you if you were minded to moving towards abolishing the commission. Do you regard the commission in the same light, as an unnecessary and unwarranted financial burden, and would you agree that what we actually need is a more flexible housing market, which would be more achievable if you did go ahead and abolish the commission? Now, I do appreciate the need for balance in your investigation, and I welcome your remarks that you would be robust in your approach towards further consultations, in particular with the park owners, because, if they want to make a case that their business may be unviable without any commission, then it really is up to them to provide that evidence. Thank you.