Shapps: the HIP suspension explained
REVEALED: Housing minister Grant Shapps reveals all that you need to know about the government's Home Information Pack suspension order.
Q: When will the order take effect?
A: From midnight today.
Q: What does it mean?
A: Anyone going out to an estate agent will be able to put their house on the market without buying a HIP.
Q: Why is it only a suspension?
A: [The order] has to be laid before parliament.
Q: How much money will it save the industry?
A: We've carried out an impact assessment, which shows that there will be a saving of about £1bn over a 10-year period by removing this piece of red tape today. It's very important and relevant in terms of the cash it's going to save.
Q: How many HIPs have been produced to date?
A: As at autumn time, there were about £750m worth of HIPs produced. I haven't checked the figures lately, but it's probably now at around £1bn [worth].
Q: What is your message to the HIP providers who will now be forced to lay off people?
A: Nobody wants anybody to go out of business, but if you get a piece of bureaucracy which is so bad that the only remaining argument to keep it is that it made some sort of job creation scheme, you know you're on to a bad piece of red tape, and I'm afraid this is where it ends up.
Q: Will there be any substitute pack?
A: Only if the market wants it. If people want to put in place an exchange-ready pack, they're welcome to. The only people that if you believe what the only people who supported it, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers, say, then these things are so wonderful that they ought to be able to carry on anyway.
There's nothing about what we're doing today, which makes it illegal to obtain some kind of pack, but it certainly won't be compulsory anymore.
Q: So, EPCs will remain?
A: EPCS are required by law, and it's the job of Trading Standards to enforce this.
Q: At what point do you need the EPC?
A: What we're saying is that you must order the EPC the day you go into the estate agent to put your house on the market.
However, what I want is for us to be pragmatic. What I'm not going to say is that you can't stick your property on the internet or put a sale sign outside until you have it. These things come through in two or three days anyway, so you can just start marketing it straight away, and then add the EPC when you get it.
Q: What's the timeframe for the eventual scrapping of HIPs?
A: The suspension is indefinite, and it's a suspension pending primary legislation, which will probably fit into a 2010 local government housing bill.
Q: Which will be when?
A: Final legislaion will be subject to the Queen's speech.
Q: Will there be a consultation?
A: Primary legislation doesn't require that, so not necessarily.
The Secretary of State has acted to remove market uncertainty. Some people have said, 'why don't you have a consultation about scrapping them [HIPs]?'.
The trouble with that is that places like this [an estate agency] will go quiet for three months while we have a consultation, so these are exceptional circumstances, so therefore we've taken action immediately to remove uncertainty.
This government is absolutely dead serious about repealing pointless, useless, red tape bureaucracy, which has in the last few years become the hall mark of the British way of doing things, which is just wrong.
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