It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Betts. I am aware that this is a sector you are interested in through your chairmanship of the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee. I welcome the new Ministers to their places and congratulate my hon. Friend Sir Christopher Chope on securing the debate.
In the past four years, there has been quite a lot of work done to assess the impact and effectiveness of the Mobile Homes Act 2013, much of which has been instigated by the Government. However, much of this activity has been taking place beneath the radar, elbowed out of the spotlight by the Brexit debate. It is therefore good news that we are using this unexpected opportunity to review the situation and to consider whether we are on the right course to ensure the sector is fit for purpose, that the rights and welfare of residents are properly and fully protected, that local authorities have the powers and resources to enforce legislation, and that site owners who play by the rules can earn a realistic return on their investment and are incentivised to carry out further improvements to their sites.
Generally, I believe we are moving in the right direction—though we should be moving quicker and there are some significant obstacles to overcome. The 2013 Act has been a qualified success. In saying that, I do not wish to damn it with faint praise; indeed, many would say I have a vested interest in not doing so. The Park Homes Working Group 2015 has come up with some welcome recommendations and the Government’s response to the 2017 review identified the issues that need to be addressed. The challenge will lie in securing their effective implementation.
In the remaining time, I shall briefly highlight the significant problems that need to be tackled and the potential pitfalls that need to be avoided. First, we have the rogue site owners. As we have heard, they still exist and are finding ways of circumnavigating the legislation that was intended to put an end to their intimidating and sharp practices.