Tories will put pledge to scrap HIPs in manifesto

The Conservatives' promise to scrap HIPs immediately they get into power is to be in the party's general election manifesto.

The news was revealed by shadow housing minister Grant Shapps in a meeting with the chief executive of the NAEA, Peter Bolton King, and president Gary Smith.

Smith said of Shapps that he was extremely well briefed and that his approach "was in accord with ours on virtually every point" raised in the meeting.

Shapps also confirmed that the Tories will retain Energy Performance Certificates, whilst making them less bureaucratic.

He did not, however, offer any support for compulsory licensing of estate agents, letting agents and landlords. Smith said it was made clear that the Tories favour self-regulation. Only if circumstances necessitated regulation in the future would licensing be considered, but even then it would be a 'light touch' approach.

Other subjects discussed at the meeting included the difficulties of home buyers in obtaining mortgages, rates on empty commercial properties, and the problems for private developers in raising finance for housing projects which could lead to a shortage of supply of new properties when the market picks up again.

Smith said: "We came away with the feeling that the points we raised had been listened to and understood, and where we believed action was required it would be carefully considered."

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