Lack of Consultation on HIPs Causes Backlash

Grant Shapps would have hoped that the contentious issue of Home Information Packs would have quietly slipped away into the background. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Yesterday, both Hywel Williams MP and the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors slammed the coalition governments handling of the HIP suspension.

Plaid MP has blasted the coalition in Westminster for failing to consult over HIPS.

Hywel Williams MP said: “What concerns me on this issue is that it appears no consultation at all has taken place with the Ministers’ counterparts in the Assembly Government.

“Although HIPs are not devolved, the Housing Act 2004 states that the UK Government ‘must consult with the National Assembly for Wales before making any regulations affecting residential properties in Wales’.

“This points to a bad start for the so-called era of ‘new politics’ and ‘respect’ for the devolved administration in Wales.”

Responding to the comments of Mr Williams, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said:

“Supporters of HIPs are of course free to put forward their views on the suspension in the period leading up to the Government seeking powers from Parliament to abolish HIPs.”

The Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors issued a statement questioning both the intent behind the actions and the manner in which they were implemented.

“IDEA strongly objects to the totally uncaring and publicity stunt manner that this announcement was made. Both Eric Pickles and Kirsty Allsopp were smiling for the cameras and celebrating the demise of an entire industry that will now leave thousands of decent hard working British citizens, from all parts of England and Wales, facing severe financial hardship and the prospect of joining the dole queue. This is an immediate contradiction of the promises given by both Nick Clegg and David Cameron in the garden of 10 Downing Street, when they talked of a “new politics” and a “fairer Britain for all!”

What really angers everyone affected by this announcement is that they all trained in the first place as a direct result of a prolonged recruitment campaign by the previous Government. Allegedly over 20,000 British taxpayers trained at their own expense, as home inspectors, energy assessors or HIP providers. With all of them now facing bleak and uncertain futures how can the new Government possibly call their actions fair?

If Eric Pickles and Grant Shapps had truly wanted to stimulate the housing market then surely they should have focused their immediate attentions on the lenders? The British public have been very vocal with their disproval of the handling of the banking crisis, but the reality today is that the gap between the Bank of England base rate and the lender’s standard variable mortgage rate is greater than ever before. To add insult to injury, typical mortgage arrangement fees now range anywhere from £999 to several thousand pounds. To put this into context a typical HIP including an Energy Performance Certificate, cost no more than £250.”

The recent statements may give AHIPP members further encouragement to challenge whether the HIP suspension was carried out in a lawful manner. Many in the industry have questioned this fact but ultimately it would be a questions for the courts to clarify.

HIPs maybe suspended but is it really the end for them? Will we see a re-incarnation?

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