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News: Tories demand broken HIPs

Wed, 16 May 07

The Conservatives are making a House of Commons effort to kill off plans to introduce home information packs, reports the BBC...

The government argues that packs will cut the number of transactions which fall through and encourage people to make homes more energy efficient; the Tories say they will increase costs without achieving those goals.

The Conservative motion, which will be debated on Wednesday from about 1245 BST, has been tabled by leader David Cameron and shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman.

The party wants the energy performance certificates, which are included in HIPs, to be introduced separately.

Scrap HIPs – Keep EPCs

Energy performance certificates (EPCs)  would give would-be buyers information on the property's energy efficiency, as well as tips on how the energy efficiency of their home can be improved. They would also ensure that the UK complies with an EU directive which comes into force in 2009.

Ms Spelman said:

"Conservatives have continually asked the government to press ahead with the implementation of energy performance certificates free from the additional red tape of the rest of the HIP regulations.

"In Northern Ireland the certificates are being implemented by the government without the introduction of Home Information Packs. Ministers should simply implement this directive without gold-plating."

Judicial challenge

The Commons vote comes a day after Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said it would seek a judicial review because the government had not consulted properly on the law.

"It is unprecedented for a professional body to challenge the government in this way. It only emphasises how shambolic the government's handling of HIPs has been," said shadow housing minister Michael Gove.

"It is still not too late for the government to think again in the interests of stability in the housing market. I hope they will use the debate to acknowledge their mistakes," he added.

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly has called RICS "anti-consumer and anti-green".

Ms Kelly called the legal challenge "groundless" and said the government would vigorously oppose it.

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