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Hips are torn apart in £250m U-turn

The home information pack regime has been left in disarray after a dramatic U-turn this week which has seen home condition reports axed.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says HCRs will not be compulsory when Hips are launched next June. The move has raised question marks over whether the scheme will be watered down further or eventually scrapped.

One industry estimate is that £250m has been spent by businesses on Hips.

John Charcol senior technical director Ray Boulger claims the Government’s hand could have been forced by the lack of trained home inspectors to complete HCRs but adds: “This could be positive as it brings certainty that Hips will be launched on time.”

Following last week’s launch of a campaign against Hips by the Conservatives, Shadow housing minister Michael Gove says: “It appears that the Government’s scheme for home information packs is unravelling fast under pressure. The flaws in the scheme have been repeatedly highlighted by the Conservatives but so far ignored by the Government.”

Housing minister Yvette Cooper says: “We believe there is a significant incentive for consumers to top up their Hip voluntarily to include a full HCR although the remaining aspects of HCRs will not be made mandatory.”

Easier2Move sales and marketing director Karen Babington says: “This is a shock. The Government has removed one of the fundamental features of Hips.”

Association of Home Information Pack Providers deputy director general Paul Broadhead says: “This is an unnecessary move but HCRs could still become mandatory later.”

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