The Council of Mortgage Lenders has wilted under Gov ernment pressure and is now urging its members to back controversial plans for home seller's packs.
The CML had previously been highly critical of the packs, with its director general Michael Coogan blasting the Government's trial of the packs as a failure at its annual conference last month.
Coogan said the CML “do not believe that the results of the Bristol pilot produces a convincing case that seller's packs work”.
But in a letter addressed to CML executive commit-tee members, dated only a few days following the conference, Coogan asks that “the committee's views are sought on the CML taking a less high profile and critical approach to the seller's pack proposal”.
He details how correspondence with an official at the Department of the Environ ment, Transport and the Regions, who ran the Bristol pilot scheme, has alerted him to how continued opposition to the packs could “damage the CML's working relationship with officials”.
Coogan writes that the DETR is “very unhappy at the CML's view that the pilot did not present a compelling case for the introduction of seller's packs”.
The climbdown will be humiliating for the CML so soon after Coogan used the conference as a forum to reflect the views of its members, who, as the letter states, had given him a “firm steer” that the CML should be critical of the packs to highlight lenders' concerns.
CML head of external affairs Sue Anderson says: “Now the Government has made up its mind it's a question of how we get the best result from the decision they have made.”
Savills Private Finance director Mike Boles says: “It is amazing that the CML would send out such a letter. Showing their weakness quite so openly is embarrassing for them and embarrassing for the industry to have such a weak representative for us in the market.”
A DETR spokesman says: “We have continued discussions with the CML and are very pleased that they are taking this view.”