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Boulger predicts axe for packs

Home information packs are likely to be scrapped if they are not introduced by the Government’s target date of June, says John Charcol senior technical director Ray Boulger.

Boulger says he doubts that Hips will be launched by the Government on time and also questions whether there will be enough home condition inspectors for a successful trial this year.

He believes that any delay is likely to mean the death knell for the controversial scheme, given that any implementation would have to be pushed back closer to a date near the next general election. He says that because of the unpopularity of Hips, the Government would be less likely to introduce them, fearing that the packs would be a vote-loser.

Blouger also believes that Chancellor Gordon Brown is less keen on the initiative than Prime Minister Tony Blair so if Brown takes over from Blair, the packs could be scrapped.

Boulger says: “I am not 100 per cent convinced that Hips will happen. It will be inter- esting to see if the trials in the second half of the year work. If Hips are delayed until 2008 then there is possibility that they will be aborted.”

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister insists that home information packs will be introduced on time.

The Government will launch a publicity campaign next month setting out how to get information on Hips.

Mortgageforce managing director Rob Clifford says: “The timescale for home inf- ormation packs seems imp- ossible, given that there are so many hurdles still to jump.”

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