16th December 2009


Apparently Home Information Packs were launched 2 years ago yesterday (seems longer doesn't it?) and to celebrate their last birthday (if the Conservatives win), Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps decked a nice little semi in Meadow Drive Hendon with miles of red ribbon. Christmas present it was not, the festive wrapping intending to represent the Red Tape of Labour's failed HIP policy, and Mr Shapps was there to rend it asunder for the assembled press.
A rather apprehensive David and Helen Wright, owners of said property,  stood huddled in the porch clasping a copy of a Pack to their bosoms, probably for protection, as the formidable MP strode towards them purposefully.
He had two weapons of choice to free the Wrights from their legally restrictive, useless yet expensive cocoon of tape - shears or bolt-cutters. He opted for the former ( Mr Smith had probably supplied the latter - he's a locksmith!) and, hey presto, the red satin fell to earth for all the world like feint rivulets of blood sucked straight from the hearts of the 1,754,492 home sellers who have suffered at the hands of Labour Housing Ministers in the last two years. And bleed they should as Shapps reminded us that the failed  HIP policy had cost the public a staggering 782,668 a day.
The flow temporally stemmed, I asked the, hopefully, soon to be Housing Minister why agents and owners now appear to have to wait 100 days before he can give HIPs the surgery they so deserve, and how did he think agents will be able to comply with the existing law when virtually no HIP producer firms will be left one day after the election. He was confident, however, that a possibly reduced number of suppliers would still see an opportunity for additional profit by staying active until the last day, and he pointed out that many would remain to do Energy Performance Certificates that will still be needed for all sales and rentals.
In my opinion, for what its worth, HIPS will have to be temporally suspended on day one whilst consultations progress, otherwise chaos and wide-spread flouting will be the name of the game. How can Agents delay marketing their clients homes when there are no HIP Producers left to produce HIPs - a conundrum indeed? 
I just hope Grant Shapps doesn't weaken the day after the battle is won and move to appease the few pro-HIP vested interests by watering down these currently admirable and terminal plans. Reparations should not be considered under any circumstances.  
Trevor Kent
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