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House of Lords votes to scrap Hips

The House of Lords has made another stand against the implementation of Home Information Packs, with 186 votes against 160 in favour of scrapping the scheme.

Yesterday’s vote in the Lords saw Baroness Hanham urging the House to revoke Hips. She said: “Seldom can a government initiative have gone so spectacularly wrong. It has been panned by practically all the professional bodies associated with house sales. Despite warnings from this House and the other place on innumerable occasions that the policy was simply not going to work, the Government have, none the less, ploughed on.

Hanham added: “This is the Minister’s opportunity finally to admit that the policy is badly flawed, should be withdrawn and either rethought or abandoned. We will gladly support the introduction of energy performance certificates as a separate and freshly considered initiative, but home packs must go. I urge the Minister to do everyone a favour—buyers, sellers and professionals—and abandon the packs this afternoon.”

However, many members of the House showed their support for the scheme. Lord Redesdale hit out at the behaviour of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors over Hips.

He said: “We should not underestimate the Government’s achievement in EPCs. They will save millions of tonnes of carbon. Because this has become a heated debate, I take issue with missives that we receive from lobbying organisations. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors is a lobbying organisation, as far as I am concerned, when it sends me unsolicited e-mails—which made me rather annoyed—as if I agreed with every line and iota that it came up with. Members of that organisation are calling for an emergency general meeting to question whether the judicial review is in the interest of all their members. I know that the Minister will talk about the state of the judicial review, but the RICS has some internal issues that it will have to address.

Redesdale added: “If I were an energy assessor and had paid the RICS to take the qualification, but it then launched a judicial review that meant that I was probably out of a job for the next three or four months, I would be very unhappy.”

Association of Home Information Pack Providers director general Mike Ockenden adds: “While yesterday’s vote in the Lords, which went against the latest Home Information Pack regulations was not fatal and will not hinder the Government’s resolve to introduce HIPs as planned on 1st August, it is disappointing that the Tories have once again made a political football out of packs.

Ockenden says there are now 1,999 fully accredited energy assessors ready to produce EPCs from August 1, just one short of the 2,000 assessors required.


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