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'Drop Dead Date' subject to trials

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 02-Feb-08 05:09:05 PM

Caroline Flint has today admitted on Radio 4's 'Any Questions' discussion program that the CLG is now considering whether Home Information Packs (HIPs) should be in place before a property can be marketed, from June 1st 2008.

She said her department was: "...looking at the issue around when the HIP should come into play, at market, or... or... later on... but the main thing is we don't introduce obstacles to the housing market"

Dimbleby, sensing a change of policy direction, pressed the Minister, asking if listeners should today deduce that Govt is no longer committed to HIPs being required on June 1st 2008, because they are now thinking about it.

The minister replied: "We're looking at how HIPs have worked in practice [...] and that is, again, why we have conducted trials...".

Also on the panel was Grant Shapps, Shadow Housing Minister, who again firmly reiterated the Tory party's commitment to abolish HIPs should they win power in the next election. He did, however, welcome the 'chink of light' from Flint when commenting on her revelation.

So that's it then! When the FDM transitional legislation was announced last year, I did suspect the 'Drop Dead Date' would die; I think this confirms the writing is on the wall.

But then, with no one fighting its corner, it's hardly surprising!

Confused Minister

One thing that struck me about this exchange was the clear lack of background knowledge displayed by Flint. At one point she said flood information was included within the HIP. That left her wide open to Shapps who informed her it wasn't. Furthermore, he said there was no incentive for sellers to pay extra for its inclusion either; thereby negating Govt claims that a HIP would provide all the information home-buyers need.

You walked straight into that, I'm afraid, Caroline.

Comparing her responses on the subject of HIPs, to her confident performance on the following subject of education, it is evidently clear how much she has still yet to catch up on... A symptom of the all-too-frequent juggling of ministers - So bloody annoying for all sides involved, I'm sure.

Shapps, however, doesn't have that excuse, though it doesn't stop him constantly quoting the extreme upper-band of HIP prices: £300-400...

... he should get a good position in some training providers' marketing dept when/if he leaves politics, eh!

You can listen (within 7 days of this post) to the 'Any Questions' show at Radio 4's Listen Again page (approx 20 mins into the discussion)

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