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Housing: Park Home Sites


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Iain Wright) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today published a consultation paper, Park Home Site LicensingImproving the Management of Park Home Sites, that proposes the introduction of an improved park home site licensing system.

Licensing of park home sites is currently governed by the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (the 1960 Act), but the existing site licensing regime does not fully meet the needs of this part of the housing sector. Authorities in general are obliged to grant licences to anyone owning a park home site regardless of their suitability and cannot impose any condition relating to its management. Some sites are therefore run by unscrupulous or incompetent persons, and residents’ rights and expectation are often not met, some becoming victims of exploitation and intimidation.

The Government want a thriving and well-run sector that provides sites where people want to live. We want a licensing system that raises and maintains standards on sites and ensures they are safe, well planned and properly managed with appropriate facilities and services to meet the needs of residents.

The consultation builds upon decisions about proposals taken following an earlier consultation in 2005 and sets out for further consideration how the new licensing system might look. Persons engaged in the management of park home sites will need to demonstrate they have the relevant competences to manage sites. The new system will give local authorities duties to impose management conditions in licences and a range of enforcement tools to ensure that site licensing conditions are complied with. It will also allow local authorities to recover their costs in connection with their duties under the new provisions by charging appropriate fees. The proposals are intended to drive up the management standards in this sector and, in those parts of it where that is not possible, we intend to give local authorities powers to put alternative management arrangements in place.

I have also today published a paper setting out the Government’s response to the May 2008 consultation A new approach for resolving disputes and to proceedings relating to Park Homes under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended). The paper sets out the Government’s intention to transfer the jurisdiction on appeals and applications under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 from county courts to residential property tribunals. The paper also includes a short consultation on additional protections for residents subject to proceedings in relation to the termination of their agreements following on from the previous consultation.

The aim of the transfer of the jurisdiction is to provide residents of mobile homes (including caravans) and the owners of sites on which they are located, with a level playing field in the resolution of disputes, by

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providing access to a dedicated, low-cost specialist (housing) tribunal, which can deal with cases quickly and without the parties needing to be legally represented.

Park home residents and the sector more widely will benefit from the introduction of these proposals and will build upon work already done to assist and support residents and others with an interest in park homes. This also includes the recent publication of four new factsheets giving key information and basic guidance about commonly raised issues concerning park home sites.

The consultation on site licensing runs until 4 August 2009 and on the additional protections in relation to termination of agreements until 9 June 2009. Both publications have been placed in the Library of the House.

Minimum Wage


The Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Davies of Abersoch): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Pat McFadden) has today made the following Statement.

In March 2008 the Government asked the Low Pay Commission to produce their next report on the national minimum wage by the end of February 2009. Due to the exceptional economic circumstances the Low Pay Commission asked the Government for more time to produce their report to allow them to take into account more recent economic data when making their recommendations. The Government granted this request and asked the Low Pay Commission to report by 1 May 2009. I would like to thank the commissioners for all their hard work.

The Low Pay Commission's 2009 report

The main recommendations put forward by the Low Pay Commission concern the rates of the minimum wage. The commission has recommended that the adult hourly rate of the minimum wage should increase from £5.73 to £5.80. The commission has recommended increasing the development rate, which covers workers aged 18 to 21 year-olds, from £4.77 to £4.83. It has recommended that the rate for 16 to 17 year-olds moves from £3.53 to £3.57. It is recommended that these changes take place in October 2009.

The commission has also recommended that the accommodation offset increases from the current £4.46 to £4.51 in October 2009.

In addition, the Government accept the commission's recommendations that a policy of naming and shaming be implemented for those employers who show wilful disregard for national minimum wage; accepts that 21 year-olds should be moved onto the adult rate of the national minimum wage; accepts that commissioning policies of local authorities in respect of social care reflect the true cost of care provision including national minimum wage; and accepts that consideration should be given to tackling non-payment of minimum wage in the informal economy.

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The Government note the commission's recommendations that it wishes to explore a national minimum wage rate for apprentices and that more resource should be dedicated to increase the number of prosecutions.

Government's response to individual recommendations in the Low Pay Commission's 2009 report

National minimum wage rates

We recommend that the adult minimum wage rate should increase from £5.73 to £5.80 in October 2009.

We recommend that the youth development rate should increase from £4.77 to £4.83 in October 2009 and that the rate for 16 to 17 year-olds should increase from £3.53 to £3.57 in October 2009.

We recommend that the accommodation offset should increase from £4.46 per day to £4.51 per day in October 2009.


21 Year-Olds

We recommend again that 21 year-olds should be entitled to the adult rate of the National Minimum Wage.


The Government accept that 21 year-olds should be entitled to the adult rate of minimum wage. However, as employment for young people is particularly vulnerable in an economic downturn, this change will be implemented from October 2010.

Naming and shaming

We recommend that a name and shame policy should be put in place to expose those employers who show wilful disregard for the minimum wage.


We believe greater transparency in this area is valid, particularly in light of the fact that the NMW has now been in place for 10 years and is an established part of labour rights.


We recommend that a minimum wage for apprentices should be introduced under the national minimum wage framework.

We recommend that the Government ask the Low Pay Commission, as part of the work for its 2010 report, to consider the detailed arrangements for an apprentice minimum wage under the national minimum wage framework, and to recommend the rate and arrangements that should replace the existing exemptions, together with the timing for its introduction.


We recognise the central role that apprentices play in developing skills in our economy. This is reflected in the Government's target of 250,000 people a year

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starting an apprenticeship in England by 2020 and our commitment that one in five young people will be on an apprenticeship by 2013.

Therefore we note this recommendation, and will respond to the recommendation in full at the time of setting the LPC's remit for 2010, which we plan to do in June.

Social Care

We recommend that the commissioning policies of local authorities and the NHS should reflect the actual costs of care, including the national minimum wage.


Sufficient resource to increase numbers of prosecutions

We recommend that the Government allocate sufficient resources to HMRC to increase significantly the number of errant employers prosecuted in a criminal court.


We recognise the importance of the role that criminal prosecution plays in enforcing the NMW. Prosecutions are focused on cases that will do most to promote compliance with the law by deterring employers who deliberately disregard NMW requirements, and the Employment Act 2008 strengthened HMRC's ability to investigate suspected NMW offences. We will keep our approach to NMW enforcement under review to ensure that we have the most effective balance of civil and criminal enforcement activities.

Consideration of measures to tackle the informal economy

We recommend that the Government give urgent consideration to measures that can be taken to effectively tackle employers in the informal economy.


Tips and the National Minimum Wage

Although this is not part of the LPC's recommendations, the Government announced last year that we would change the regulations to stop the practice of tips being used to make up the NNW. We intend to proceed with this change in October alongside the LPC recommendations.

Northern Ireland: Probation Board


Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My honourable friend the Minister of State for Northern Ireland (Paul Goggins) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I have today published the Probation Board for Northern Ireland business plan for 2009-10. The plan sets out the board’s key objectives and performance targets for the coming year.

Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses

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