News: What would Tories replace hips with?

Conservative leader, David Cameron, speaking with a group of first time buyers in Chiswick last week, promised that if elected to power he would scrap Home Information Packs (Hips) being introduced into residential property sales by the Labour government in June 2007.

Whilst the statement was warmly welcomed by the high-profile, anti-HIP campaign group, SPLINTA, it is unclear what the Tories would replace Hips with.

The group, who represent over 850 firms of estate agents, surveyors and solicitor/conveyancers have committed to getting the government to scrap Hips before the introduction, but any action by a potential next government will be way down the track after introduction of the scheme and will require more than just scrapping.

Nick Salmon, the joint leader of the anti-hip campaign himself admits the commercial implications will be great and that thousands of home inspectors would be put out of work if such a scrapping were to take place. Of course, the group hopes the government will scrap Hips before its planned introduction date.

Mr Salmon said, "If my son asked me whether he should spend two years and £5000 to £10,000 training to be an Inspector I would warn him that it may well prove to be a very short career."

However, Paul Broadhead, deputy director general of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP), said the Conservatives were "plain mad" to state that Hips would not help first-time buyers, or improve the house buying and selling process.

Mr Broadhead said: "First time buyers will be in a much stronger position after the introduction of compulsory Hips. With the responsibility for surveys and searches shifted to the seller, the hidden additional costs of buying a home will be significantly reduced."

"In addition, all the essential information about a property will be available up front, cutting the number of sales that fall through once a survey has been undertaken and ensuring that first time buyers know exactly what they are committing to, right down to the energy efficiency of the property."

"It is unclear how the Conservatives would suggest replacing Hips but their continuing unconstructive and misguided criticisms of the plans would indicate that they do not wish the housing market to evolve into an open and fairer system for all and would prefer that it remains in its current state in desperate need of improvement."

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