Government delays full home pack rollout

The full rollout of Home Information Packs (HIPs) has been delayed until the end of the year, prompting calls for the government to abandon the initiative.

HIPs were originally meant to be introduced for all homes in England and Wales last summer but a last minute government volte-face instead saw the packs gradually phased in. They were finally introduced for homes of all sizes last December.

However, the government currently allows home sellers to put their homes on the market without a HIP so long as one has been commissioned. This concession - known as the ‘first day marketing’ rule - was due to end in June, but the government has now announced an extension until the end of the year.

Housing minister Caroline Flint says: "HIPs are already bringing benefits to consumers. Property search costs are falling and new information on energy efficiency can help cut carbon emissions and enable prospective purchasers to get a better idea of the likely costs of energy bills."

Despite the fact that the delay means a home seller is able to market and potentially sell their home without the buyer ever seeing a HIP, Flint adds: "We also want to ensure all consumers are seeing the vital information in a HIP early in the process so they can fully benefit."

Peter Ambrose, director of HIP provider The Partnership, says the delay will give home sellers more time to get used to HIPs. "In the current climate, anything that may slow down the [house selling] process must be avoided," he adds.

But the Conservative housing minister Grant Shapps says the delay is a sign that HIPs should be scrapped.

"This latest HIPs delay is the third time that the government has had to admit that this botched initiative can never work," he adds. "The time has surely come for Gordon Brown to do one of his famous U-turns and scrap HIPs once and for all."

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