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Shapps: HIPS fiasco "encapsulates the Government's failure to listen"

Shapps_grant Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Housing minister: "I beg to move,

That this House notes the growing concern over the effect of Home Information Packs (HIPs) on a fragile housing market; observes that the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has warned that the introduction of HIPs has already led to a downturn in the market for both four and three bedroom homes; recalls that the Government was warned against introducing HIPs from across the housing industry; is concerned that none of the revised secondary legislation for HIPs was scrutinised or debated by the House before its implementation; calls for Home Information Packs to be scrapped and Energy Performance Certificates to be implemented separately; and asserts that ending stamp duty for first time buyers up to £250,000 would do far more to help home buyers and sellers.

Were the country looking for a single policy that best encapsulates the Government’s failure to listen, I suspect that home information packs would be in the running. In forcing through the legislation, Ministers have consistently ignored the advice of housing experts, the industry, the market, buyers, sellers and colleagues on both sides of the House and in the other place. Now that HIPs are partially implemented, the results are becoming all too clear, with an already fragile housing market shaken to the core by a dramatic drop in the number of new homes being put up for sale. While everyone agrees that home buying and selling really should be faster and easier, is it not time that the Minister admitted that the Government have forced on England and Wales a half-baked law that is clumsy, ineffective and damaging to the housing market?

Time and again, the Government watered down their flawed proposals, and HIPs quickly turned into nothing more than expensive but worthless red tape. Then, under pressure to rescue the policy, the Minister for Housing made home condition reports optional, thereby destroying the centrepiece of the legislation. Although the Government’s website still says that home condition reports are

“an important part of the Pack”,

does she accept that, for all intents and purposes, they have been shelved and forgotten?"

More from Hansard here.


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