Wednesday, 4 August 2021
PAUL BAKER INSURANCE SERVICES are delighted to announce the return of their popular PARK HOME ROAD SHOWS. The first one will be held on 28th October 2021 at Cobham Village Hall, Cobham, KT11 2LU. It will start at 2.00pm and finish at 4.00pm. Numbers will be limited to around 120 and you will need to book in advance.
The full line up of speakers is still being confirmed but it is anticipated that the event will be chaired by Alex Melvin, Editor of Park Home & Holiday Caravan Magazine, speakers so far include Ibraheem Dulmeer, barrister and mediator and expert on park home law, Sonia McColl of the Park Home Owners’ JUSTICE Campaign and Park-HELP-Line, Paul Baker from sponsors Paul Baker Insurance Services, a leading park home insurance provider, and a representative from IPHAS, the Independent Park Home Advisory Service.
The format of the event will be a 10 minute presentation from each speaker following by a Question and Answer session. There may be an opportunity for individual consultations after 4.00pm but the hall must be vacated by 5.00pm. Tea and coffee will be available on arrival, there is limited car-parking on site, the event is FREE to attend.
Pre-booking is essential, please email email@example.com or call Paul on 01242 505840, we will need the name and address of all attendees.
We look forward to seeing you at Cobham !
Friday, 2 July 2021
SENTENCED FOR STEALING Sonia's Home
The thieves Darren Baseley and Stewart Gregory have now been sentenced at Exeter Crown Court on Friday 2nd July 2021.
Darren Baseley to 20 months custody
Stewart Gregory to 22 month custody
May I thank all those wonderful PHOJC members who have supported me over almost four years. Both you and I know who you are and I will never be able to thank you enough.
It has been one hell of a journey and I have been unable to comment throughout this period but to now finalise this epic I have copied below “My Victim’s Impact Statement” - which I read out in court prior to the sentencing.
Hopefully it may go some way in helping any other park home residents who are fighting their own personal battle and perhaps show that even through fear and loss you really can win through.
In the words of Winston Churchill.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” and “Never, never, never give up.”
Victim Impact Statement of Sonia McColl
The impact from the theft of my home has dominated, changed and consumed every part of my existence for the last three years. My life being the only thing that is truly mine. Fear, loss, anger and stress have been my constant day and night companions – but these are only words – you have to experience this to know how it truly feels.
My initial stress was indescribable; a mixture of shock, horror at my situation and a numbness (where my mind almost refused to accept what I was being told.) As a widow, I felt desperately alone, helpless and very very vulnerable. I really did not know what I could do to make things better as everything I had worked all my life for was gone and I could not buy another home.
I could not even claim insurance because the home was only insured whilst being transported and on the trailer. It was not insured when removed from the trailer; therefore, my loss is a total loss that I was not responsible for and I had no way to recover from it. When I asked Darren Baseley why it was taken off the trailer, he replied “what and get our trailer nicked.” Needless to say, I felt physically sick.
Fear is very deep rooted in my everyday life. This was brought about by the words of the thief, Darren Baseley, to my daughter, when he said in relation to the theft “Your mother walked all over the site owners and she deserves this.” He also said that he knew two of the site owners who belonged to the traveller community; and that he had telephone numbers relating to individuals. In addition, he admitted reading all about me on google.
As founder of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign that changed the law to stop sale blocking and legally prevented site owners from stealing the equity of park home residents; I was now 100% sure that the theft of my home was pay-back and I was fearful because I had seen the outcome of the wicked things that site owners would do to residents.
I was asked by the Police to accompany them to The Glen in Bromsgrove and speak to the media on behalf of the residents who were too fearful of retribution from known criminal site owners who had burnt down their homes. From the time that Darren Baseley made his statement regarding his connection with the traveller community, I have never felt safe again and am always looking over my shoulder.
I knew that by trying to get justice for myself, the family who were temporarily housing me feared retribution to their home because those who were arrested knew of their address. The Police even arranged for protection people to talk to both them and me – but kind as they were to shelter me, I knew I had to leave because I could not inflict any form of retribution upon them or their home – but I had nowhere to go.
For over a year I was homeless, reliant on the goodwill of family, friends, B & Bs and park home residents around our country who offered me a bed. I only had my small car and would often sit in it watching the lights in other people’s houses; knowing my car was the only refuge I owned.
Always while driving, I look in the mirror and if I think I am being followed, my heart races, and I turn into a side street. No one should have to live like this and many times, when being interviewed by the media, I worried about the retribution it would bring – but if I did nothing, the thieves would get away with it; so, I carried on, moved to another county and tried to get on to a housing register.
Not easy, if you are not already a resident as every door is blocked and all the time my feelings of hopelessness and vulnerability grew. Certainly, the mental cruelty of impending danger is a fear that changes you and I know that will stay with me forever if I continue to live in the UK.
When they stole my home, they stripped me of everything except my life. My refuge, my safety, my privacy, my bed (where I could sleep) my cooker (where I could feed myself) my toilet, my ability to wash in private, my relaxation in my chair, my TV entertainment, a place to hang my clothes and a door to close that would help to keep me safe.
All that I had worked for was stolen from me; which of course meant the inheritance of the value of my home (when sited) that I wanted to leave to my children.
Although I was sure my home was stolen as payback for my work in the Justice campaign, I was determined they would not take my self-respect and make me so frightened that I would close down the Justice Campaign or the Park-HELP-Line that I run. But to protect myself I changed my name by deed poll. It was very painful to reject my late husband’s name, but for my safety I knew that it had to be done. Since then, I have led a double life. Running the Justice Campaign and Park-HELP-line under my original name and living daily as someone else.
After many months, while having breakfast in an early morning café; I received a telephone call saying that I was being offered a place to live. It is impossible to tell you how wonderful that call sounded and for the first time since my life was ripped apart, I felt excited. Sadly, my fear of being found has made me exclude myself from the electoral register, have a withheld telephone number and remain as anonymous as I can. This in turn has meant that I have been unable to even share my new name and address with friends (which has led to a certain amount of isolation.)
Attempts to find me have been aimed at my face-book page, ebay account, linked-in and equifax have reported that attempts were made to steal my identity and take loans out in my name. These instances continue to add fear to my life.
However, I now have a rented roof over my head. It is not mine to own and is a situation that I never wanted to be in and I have nothing to leave to my children – but I am grateful to have a door with a lock, bolt and chain to close on the world and anyone that might hurt me. I have coded locks on the gate to the garden and I have also had security cameras fitted so that I can see who is at the door or approaching the home – but in all honesty, I can’t really imagine how I will ever truly feel safe again.
Along with insult, that is what those thieves have done to me and they have shown no remorse whatsoever. I have done nothing to them but they have profited from what they have done to me. They know where my home is. They know to whom they sold it and who is living in it. They have stolen from me and stolen my family’s inheritance – and that is not a 30.000 home because for me to replace it would cost in excess of 60,000 and once sited on the private land it would be worth a minimum of 160.000.
I believe I am at liberty, your honor, to offer my viewpoint on a sentence. In my humble opinion, as the injured party, they both need to be put away for a long time to reflect at length on the misery their greed has caused
The regional CPS Crown Prosecution Service threw my case out initially. I appealed – as was my right. The supervisor of the original officer threw it out again. Many individuals might not know that you can in fact appeal to the CPS in London. I did this and low and behold it passed the two tests. One being the evidential test and two being in the public interest. I tell you this because if you know you are right, NEVER, NEVER, GIVE UP. Had I accepted the first CPS decision; these two thieves would still be walking about. Laughing all the way to the bank; no doubt thinking how clever they had been and putting two fingers up at me, the Police and the Law.
For all that has been thrown at me - I could not be happier now. I am stronger. I have learned a great deal and have succeeded in what I set out to do and they have lost their freedom. If my story helps just one person to fight for their rights. Then the outcome of the trial will be doubly worthwhile.
My best wishes and thanks to you all. I will continue to keep you updated on the 10% Commission Charge and RPI to CPI that you have all fought for.
Saturday, 19 June 2021
FROM THE DAILY MIRROR.
Mobile home parks hero Sonia McColl forced into hiding - "I don't think I'll ever feel safe"
Campaigner living in fear as two crooks who stole her park home are convicted
Guilty: Darren Baseley, left, and Stewart Gregory (Image: supplied via Andrew Penman)
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Sonia McColl was speaking after the conviction last week of two men for stealing her 10-ton 40ft mobile home.
Widow Mrs McColl, the 72-year-old founder of the Park Home Owners Justice Campaign, said she moved out of a mobile home park in 2017 following death threats and late-night banging on her door.
In November that year she arranged for her home to be transported to her daughter’s house in Devon.
It was stolen one night after being offloaded in the yard of a haulage firm and has never been recovered.
The value is put at around £28,000, though if sited on a park home pitch it would be nearer £200,000.
Sonia McColl and her stolen mobile home
Although insured for the journey, the policy became invalid when it was taken off the truck and left in the haulage yard.
Fairground operator Stewart Gregory, 43, of Normandy in Surrey, was last week found guilty of theft by a jury at Exeter crown court.
Darren Baseley, 47, of Cranbrook near Exeter, admitted theft. He was found not guilty of blackmail, having been accused of demanding money from two other individuals in exchange for not implicating them in the crime.
Both men are due to be sentenced next month. There’s no suggestion that either of the detestable pair are responsible for the intimidation endured by Mrs McColl.
After the case she said she plans to be in court to read out her victim impact statement, saying: “I can’t wait to see their wicked evil faces in the dock.” She believes the theft was linked to her high-profile fight against park home abuses.
“They knew who I was because one evening before it was stolen I was phoned by Mr Baseley and he told me that he was reading all about me on Google,” she said.
“I thought, do you do this to all your customers, put their names into Google and look them up?
“My daughter said in her witness statement that Mr Baseley told her ‘Your mother walked all over the site owners, she deserved this’.
"My home was lovely, it was fully kitted out, so when they stole it they literally took everything. I don’t have anything now to leave to my children.
Now I have a rented home, it's wonderful to have four walls and roof but it's not mine. That's something I have to accept, it's better than having nothing at all.”
Now Mrs McColl says she is living a double life, keeping her surname for her campaign work while living with a new identity at an undisclosed address.
She said: “After the theft I spent the better part of a year sleeping in friends’ houses and B&Bs, and eventually managed to get a sheltered home and changed my name. I really was very fearful.
“I could have moved into a room with my daughter and her husband but they’re a young couple and don’t need that, apart from which there were fears of retribution.
“I’m not being a drama queen but I don’t honestly think I’ll ever feel safe. The only time I did feel safe was when I went to another country and I was walking through the streets and thought ‘Do you know, I’m not looking over my shoulder’.”
Remarkably, she is determined to continue with the campaign, vowing to “see things through”.
“At the trial only the judge knew my new name,” she said.
“I’ve been keeping it quiet so I can continue with the work I’m doing and also live a quiet life where people know me as somebody else.”
In 2012, this column named Mrs McColl as one of its heroes of the year for fighting on behalf of park home residents.
Her campaign secured a ban on park home companies preventing residents from selling their homes.
This sale-blocking had meant that residents could have had little choice but to sell their homes to the site management for a pittance.
In 2014 Mrs McColl was awarded an OBE for her work.
The campaign has continued by calling for an end to sites charging commission of 10% when residents sell their homes, Mrs McColl calling it “money for doing nothing”.
She also wants increases in site fees to be linked to the consumer price index, which is what pension increases are based on.
"The government has agreed to this when parliamentary time allows," she said.
"That's what I've been hanging on for over these last four years. Here we are in 2021 and they're still haggling over it, that's why I kept it going and wouldn't give up the justice campaign, to try to see things through."
Another grievance involves site managers selling homes that have been put on plots that, unknown to the buyers, do not have planning permission, an issue I covered here.
Last week, Wyldecrest Parks, which runs 58 mobile sites across the UK, was fined £100,000 over an unlawfully sited home at Bayworth Mobile Home Park, Oxfordshire.
It had sold the home to a retired couple, Oxford Magistrates Court was told.
Mrs McColl is also calling for changes to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes, saying it is too closely tied to vested business interests.
"There are still a lot of abuses going on and what we need is a different APPG, one that doesn't have the industry as it's secretariat, because that's completely wrong as far as I'm concerned, it's a multi-million pound industry with tremendous lobbying power.
Thursday, 17 June 2021
ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON PARK HOMES
The minutes of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes which took place on Monday, 17 May 2021, via Zoom, commencing at 10.00am.
PRESENT: Sir Christopher Chope MP (Chair)
Peter Aldous MP
Sir Peter Bottomley MP
Lord Carter of Coles
Anthony Mangnall MP
Heather Wheeler MP
Paul Honey, representing Ruth Edwards MP
Rebecca Hutchinson, representing John Stevenson MP
Sarah Pagan, representing John Stevenson MP
Alicia Dunne, NCC
Brian Doick MBE, NAPHR
Anthony Essien, LEASE
Sonia McColl OBE, Park Home Owners Justice Campaign
Lisa Osborn, North Somerset Council
Ros Pritchard OBE, BH&HPA
Ian Pye, IPHAS
Anne Webb, volunteer
APOLOGIES: Apologies had been received from Lord Best OBE DL and John Stevenson MP.
Sir Christopher Chope MP welcomed all to the Group’s Annual General Meeting and thanked Anne Webb for producing such comprehensive minutes of meetings.
1. Approval of Minutes
The meeting APPROVED the minutes of the previous meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes which took place via Zoom on Monday, 1 February 2021, commencing at 10.00am.
2. Annual General Meeting
a) Election of officers
It was proposed by Sir Peter Bottomley MP and unanimously AGREED that Sir Christopher Chope MP should continue to serve as Chair to the All-Party Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes.
Sir Christopher Chope MP thanked members for their vote of confidence and agreed to continue to serve as Chair.
Heather Wheeler MP was welcomed to the meeting and her nomination as Vice-Chair was gratefully received. The meeting heard that Peter Aldous MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Lord Carter of Coles and Alex Sobel MP were each willing to continue to serve as Vice-Chairs.
The meeting ELECTED officers to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes as follows:
Chair Sir Christopher Chope MP (Conservative)
Vice-Chair Peter Aldous MP (Conservative)
Vice-Chair Sir Peter Bottomley MP (Conservative)
Vice-Chair Lord Carter of Coles (Labour)
Vice-Chair Alex Sobel MP (Labour Co-op)
Vice-Chair Heather Wheeler MP (Conservative)
Sir Peter Bottomley MP suggested that there could be merit in inviting a Scottish MP to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes.
b) Income and expenditure statement
The meeting APPROVED the income and expenditure statement for the year to 9 February 2021, noting that the APPG on Park Homes had received no financial income, nor benefits in kind from a source which exceeded £1,500 and had incurred no expenditure in the year.
It was AGREED that the Group’s Registration Form be returned to the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner to re-register the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Park Homes.
3. Matters arising
There were no matters arising from the minutes.
4. Issues arising in the light of the content of the Queen’s Speech
Sir Christopher Chope MP reported that Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Housing, had been invited to meet with the APPG but unfortunately had other diary commitments.
He also reported that he had been trying to persuade Government to give a Hand-Out Bill to address areas of concern in the park homes sector. The meeting considered the effectiveness of a Private Member’s Bill to address the issues which Government had said would be addressed when Parliamentary time allowed. The Chairman noted that the Private Member’s Bill ballot would take place quite soon and wondered whether anyone successful in that ballot might be concerned enough with park home issues to be persuaded to take up the cause and put pressure on Government to prepare and present a Bill which would embrace issues on which the Government had already promised to legislate.
Sir Christopher Chope MP advised that park owners in England would need to apply for a Fit and Proper Person licence between July and September 2021 and that guidance for local authorities was anticipated shortly. The Chair also shared the news
that the University of Liverpool had been appointed to gather data regarding the likely impact of any changes in the 10% sales commission fee. Sonia McColl thanked Sir Christopher Chope MP for his work, adding that many park home residents were disappointed that legislation wasn’t coming through. She hoped it would be possible to get a Private Member’s Bill to take park home issues forward (in the same way that Peter Aldous MP had done with the Mobile Homes Act 2013).
Anthony Mangnall MP expressed his frustration that the findings of the Mobile Homes Act review were yet to be implemented and supported the proposal to write to Minister, Eddie Hughes MP inviting him to the next meeting of the APPG. He asked if the text of that letter could be sent to all the stakeholders. Anthony Mangnall MP also felt that guidance for Environmental Health Officers would be helpful.
Sir Peter Bottomley MP suggested that the Fire Safety Bill had taken precedence over other legislation and that more should be made of the fact that people living in park homes were often quite vulnerable, as were leaseholders. He said it would be good to get an hour and a half debate and to link vulnerable leaseholders with park home residents. He suggested that LEASE should be asked to provide a list of the most common problems they received. Ian Pye thought this was an excellent suggestion and agreed to liaise with LEASE and to find out whether the matters raised had been put to Government and a satisfactory response received. Sir Christopher Chope MP echoed Sir Peter Bottomley MP’s thoughts about highlighting the vulnerability of homeowners on residential parks through a Backbench debate.
Sir Christopher Chope MP next addressed issues relating to park homes which had arisen in the light of the content of the Queen’s Speech. One was the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill. Brian Doick asked whether there was a possibility that this Bill could be broadened to encompass park homes, in the same way that in 2003 the then Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper MP, had allowed changes to the Housing Bill to include items relating to park homes, with the result that there were changes to the implied terms that came forward in the Act. With regard to the current problems being experienced with leases, he said that some of these dated back to l982. Leases were being issued for any number of years, some as little as six. In some instances, park homes were sold with these short leases and residents were told that the lease could be extended on the payment of a sum of money. Brian Doick felt that the Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill should have a section relating to park homes. He added that residents were being held to ransom by park owners when leases run out.
Sir Christopher Chops responded that Brian Doick’s comments were a useful reminder of history and, especially that the Minister was willing to co-operate and to incorporate the changes into a Bill back in 2003. He felt that the APPG should put pressure on the Minister that when this Leasehold Reform Bill was introduced it had the scope to cover the issues raised by Brian Doick, adding that he was sure that Sir Peter Bottomley MP would be trying to achieve this. Sir Peter Bottomley MP suggested that there would be merit in ensuring that the BBC’s Housing and Parliamentary editors were kept up to date with this matter.
Heather Wheeler MP was delighted to be returning to the APPG on Park Homes and opined that the rules on changing the inflation index for the pitch fee review from RPI
to CPI would be suitable for a Hand-out Bill. Heather Wheeler MP welcomed the research into the 10% sales commission as this would provide an evidence-based approach and would hopefully avoid a potential Judicial Review. She added that the previous Housing Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP had a Kent constituency with a large number of residential parks in the area whereas Eddie Hughes MP had a northern constituency with fewer parks. Although he knew a lot about social housing, as an inner-city MP, he had little experience of park homes.
Heather Wheeler MP acknowledged the excellent work that Kelly Tolhurst MP had done as Minister and looked forward to the opportunity to discuss park home issues with the incoming Minister, Eddie Hughes MP. Sir Christopher Chope MP proposed that the next meeting of the APPG on Park Homes be organised before the summer recess on a date when it would be convenient for the Minister to attend.
Sir Christopher Chope MP introduced Lisa Osborn, an officer of North Somerset Council which provided the primary authority residential park site licensing. Addressing the preparations for the introduction of Fit and Proper Person licensing, Lisa Osborn said that park owners would need to apply between July and September 2021. The APPG heard that legislation allowed for F&PP checks by the local authority to be self-financing, and a fee would be needed to cover the cost of the substantial administrative work involved. Lisa Osborn advised the APPG that as a Primary Authority, North Somerset Council would be able to share standard templates and processes with other local authorities, as well as giving advice, to help lessen the burden and keep costs to a minimum. She informed the APPG that a Site Licensing Officers’ Forum to which 20 local authorities had membership, had been set up and that all Forum members were keen to ensure that improvements were made to the sector.
She said that her local authority was currently looking at a fee of £200 per applicant for the Fit and Proper Person licence. There were 29 sites in her district in North Somerset and they were looking to generate an income of £5,800 (£1,160 per year for five years) but even so that wouldn’t be enough to employ an officer to do the job.
She said that her authority was committed to improving issues in the park homes sector and with that in mind had created a Primary Authority partnership with the BH&HPA. Her authority had sent out letters to park owners in the area alerting them to the fact that these checks were coming and inviting them to raise any questions. They were also being alerted to the fact that the local authority would need to review an up-to-date criminal records check (within six months of application) for all applicants.
Sonia McColl said that 7-8 years had now elapsed since the passing of the Mobile Homes Act 2013 and the input she received from her members indicated that they were disappointed. When they reported matters of concern to their local authorities, nothing happened. She said that there had been a promise that rogue park owners would be dealt with and made an example of. Local authorities were not addressing where homes were sited and whether they were covered by the planning permission. Park owners were running rings around the local authorities, she added.
Ian Pye commented that this was a widespread issue. He had been dealing with a number of parks in Lancashire where park owners had ignored planning consents, had taken steps to extend parks in different ways and local authorities had not acted. Local authority officers had made inspections and written reports in some cases, but nothing of consequence was usually resolved and the numerous complaints from homeowners had fallen on deaf ears. Lisa Osborn responded by saying that she had heard about such things but the problems were down to individual local authorities. She said that her authority had responded to complaints from homeowners on the day after receipt.
Ian Pye said that another matter of concern was that when a park owner accepted his Site Licence there was an assumption that he would abide by the terms and conditions therein but the sad fact was that there were many park owners coming into the industry and taking over large parks who were ignorant of their Site Licence conditions. There was no requirement for them to have, for example, knowledge of how the Model Standards worked, or knowledge of the scope of park home legislation. He had received a number of complaints from his members about park owners totally ignoring the legislation and hedging their bets that no-one would take action against them.
Sir Christopher Chope MP commented that he hoped that when Ian Pye drew up his list of the most common problems reported to him that he would include some of the examples he had mentioned. Anthony Essien (LEASE) said that his organisation already had a list of the most common problems on parks which were reported to them and would be glad to hear from residents’ associations about any others.
Sir Christopher Chope MP asked Lisa Osborn whether there was any scope for a best practice guide for local authorities dealing with park homes. He also asked whether the Site Licensing Officers’ Forum which she had mentioned was local government owned or organised by the Ministry. Lisa Osborn replied that it had been created by local authority officers. She added that there was a huge amount of guidance available on best practice. She hoped to advise local authorities on implementing Model Standards and to bring together other pieces of legislation to enable them to have easy access to the information they needed.
Sir Christopher Chope MP asked Lisa Osborn if there were any legislative changes that her group believed were necessary. She responded that it would be useful for the Site Officers’ Licensing Forum to get the views of its members on that question. In relation to the proposed Fit and Proper Person licensing, they would not be able to comment until they had seen it in operation for a while – possibly a year.
Sir Christopher Chope MP advised that complex company structures would need to be addressed.
Brian Doick raised the matter of homeowners currently paying for their site owner’s licence from the local authority. He took the view that if they are paying for it, they should have some input into its provisions. He added that there was also a suggestion that residents should also pay a fee for the introduction of Fit and Proper Person licensing. He asked why residents should have to pay to enable their park owner to run his business.
5. Any other business
There was no other business.
6. Date and venue of next meeting
It was AGREED that the next meeting of the APPG on Park Homes be organised before the summer recess on a date when it would be convenient for the Minister to attend.
The Chairman closed the meeting at 10:45
Tuesday, 8 June 2021
Thursday, 20 May 2021
UPDATE NEWS FROM THE JUSTICE CAMPAIGN REGARDING:
10% COMMISSION CHARGE.
RPI TO CPI INCREASE TO THE PITCH FEE
SONIA'S STOLEN HOME.
10% Commission Charge that is payable to the site owner on the sale of your home
Good News. The Independent Review of the 10% Commission Charge that you campaigned for is now taking place. Government has commissioned research by Liverpool University with the assistance of Sheffield Hallam.
I was asked to give them the names of four residents from around the country who would be willing to take part in a group meeting with the researchers to give their thoughts on the commission charge. This has been done and I, on behalf of our Justice Campaign have taken part in a group meeting where I could put forward the feelings of our Justice Campaign.
In due course, I believe there will be a survey for all park home residents and when I have details of this I will make sure that it is advertised to all. The research is not expected to conclude until the end of this year. At that time its findings will be given to the Government and we will then await the outcome that hopefully will bring about a change to the commission charge.
Our President of the Justice Campaign, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, who actively supports our campaign has written personally to the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) regarding the 10% Commission Charge.
RPI To CPI
As you will all be aware; Government has promised that this will be introduced when Parliamentary Time Allows. Needless to say, our patience is now wearing rather thin with these ongoing delays in bringing about the promised change from RPI to CPI.
For those who are not aware of the procedures that have to take place I have written a small resume below.
Although the Government has promised to change RPI to CPI; before this can happen it has to be included in this year's parliamentary timetable. Before that could happen, the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) would have had to put the bid forward to the PBL (Parliamentary Business and Legislation) Committee. At the last but one APPG meeting Sir Christopher Chope asked if the MHCLG would put the bid forward for inclusion. The reply from MHCLG was not positive. In short, that means that if nothing else can be done the change from RPI to CPI will not happen in this year's parliamentary time table.
I have written to Sir Peter, our President, to ask if he could do something about this. At the APPG meeting a few days ago Sir Peter and Sir Christopher Chope OBE MP looked at other ways that could perhaps be brought about to get the bid for RPI to CPI into this parliamentary timetable. I believe they will try to do the same thing - that happened behind the scenes - when the Bill to stop Sale Blocking was included in the parliamentary timetable. Of course, we do not know if it will be successful - but I tell you this because it is important to know that certain MPs are doing all that they can to help us on this front and as I know I have said on many occasions; without help from the inside of Westminster, nothing will happen. I will of course let you know if a positive way forward can be found for this year.
It is now just over three years since my home was stolen and so many of you offered me a bed when I was homeless and contributed to the fund raising that has since helped me to set up a new home.
It has been a very long, stressful and difficult journey to get this into the Crown Court at Exeter. Now, I am just 11 days away from the Trial of the two men accused of stealing my home. The trial begins on Tuesday 1st June and is scheduled to last for four days. I will let you all know the outcome in due course and I would sincerely like to thank you all for the support you have given.
Best Wishes to all