Select committee criticises Government over Hips


A select committee of MPs has accused the Government of delaying the introduction of Home Information Packs (Hips) for political, rather than economic reasons.

In its report, the committee states that the delay in the introduction of Hips, which were phased in over a four month period, owed “more to a failure of nerve in the face of vocal opposition from the press and others than to the general conditions prevailing in the housing market itself”.

The full Hip programme, administered by the department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), was scheduled for launch in June 2006 but was delayed by two months and then initially only applied to homes with four bedrooms or more.

The scheme was extended to three-bedroomed homes in September and then to all properties from mid-December.

The Government blamed the delay on a shortage of trained as energy assessors.

Dr Phyllis Starkey, chair of the committee and Labour MP for Milton Keynes South West, has stated that the “tortuous process of introducing home information packs signals a failure of delivery on CLG’s part”.

Estate Agents and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) have made clear their opposition to the packs, which are intended to speed-up the process of buying a home. Both the cost of the packs and their lack of content have been criticised.

The Rics estimates that the introduction of HIPs has reduced the number of properties on the market by 20% because speculative sellers are not offering their homes for sale.

A Hip currently takes between of seven to 10 days to produce and costs sellers around A?300 to A?350.

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