NEWS FLASH – HIPs suspended

Home Information Packs have been suspended with immediate effect pending primary legislation for a permanent abolition.

CLG Secretary of State Eric Pickles said: "HIPs are history. This action will encourage sellers back into the market and help the market as a whole and the economy recover."

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: "This is a great example of how this new Government is getting straight down to work by cutting pointless red tape."

They made the announcement this morning at a press conference held at Bullman Booth estate agents in Battersea, London, owned by Philip Bullman.

Many jobs – up to 10,000 has been estimated – will now be at immediate risk and specialist HIP providers will fold, unless they are able to diversify.

However, there is no doubt that most estate agents will greet the suspension with relief.

For AHIPP, there was a surprising acceptance, although it made it clear there are still battles ahead.

Director general Mike Ockenden said: "We want to work with the Government and we want the consultation we have been promised. We are not suggesting that HIPs should be retained. AHIPP has accepted that they will be scrapped.

"However, we have been proposing for months that a legal pack – or exchange ready HIP – be instructed at the start of the sales process. We think it would be crazy to throw the baby out with the bathwater and remove at a stroke all the good things that have come about with HIPs, and the lessons we have learnt.

"If we do this, then the opportunity for reform will have been lost for a generation."

Nick Salmon, tireless campaigner and founder of SPLINTA, was absolutely delighted.

He said: "The ending of HIPs is a victory for the consumer, the estate agency industry and the SPLINTA campaign. We applaud the swift and decisive action of the coalition government and the contribution of the housing minister, Grant Shapps, who has always been clear about HIPs in his words and deeds.

"The chequered history of this flawed piece of legislation stands as a shameful monument to the ineptitude and arrogance of a succession of Labour housing ministers who failed to heed the warnings of those who actually know how the property market works."

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