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Labour drops itself in the HIP with a sorry climb-down

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Labour’s much-lambasted scheme for Home Information Packs (HIPs) collapsed in disarray last night as the Government was forced into a humiliating climb-down on the issue.

The planned 1st June start date has been put back to August 1st and even then only four-bedroom houses, or larger, will require a HIP if they are put on the market for sale.

HIPs were originally conceived in the 1997 Labour election manifesto as a way of taking confusion and delay away from the housing market, but have proved a major thorn in the side of the Government since the legislative process to set them up began.

First, the home condition report element of the pack was dropped, which watered it down unacceptably in the eyes of many observers. Now, in the face of stiff opposition from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), it seems to many as if the whole idea has been fatally undermined.

Ruth Kelly, communities secretary, was given a rough ride in the House of Commons, where she was asked to justify the decision. Opposition MPs were particularly derisive when she claimed that her decision “gives clarity to everyone about the next steps.”

Dominic Toller, director of marketing and new business at LMS, claimed to be the UK’s leading provider of HIPs, said: “As the largest HIP provider we know that we are fully ready for the introduction of packs on 1st June.

“At the moment, the agenda seems to be run by RICS and the Law Society, both of which have vested interests in keeping the current complicated and convoluted home transaction system in place.”


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