Government does U-turn on HIPs – no surprise there then

The British government has caved in to the growing anti-HIPs campaign and announced that one of the key and most controversial elements – the Home Condition Reports (HCR) – will not now become mandatory on 1st June 2007 as planned. Instead, there are now suggestions that HCRs will be delayed until 2009. However as that takes us into the time when the next general election is likely to be held – and the opposition Tories have already said they will scrap HIPs – then a 2009 implementation date could actually mean never.Needless to say the Housing Minister Yvette Cooper had an excuse and, rather than admit HIPs are unpopular and that their introduction could destabilise the housing market, she blamed the lack of inspectors available to carry out the HCR surveys. Shadow housing minister Michael Gove was a little more blunt in his assessment of the situation. He described the HIPs scheme as “a complete shambles” and added that “the government should abandon the whole scheme and consult afresh, rather than move ahead with a vanity project to save ministers’ faces”.We hate to say we told you so but we’ve been having this conversation with the HIPs industry for the past 18 months. The fact is nobody but the HIPs industry wants HIPs but the hipporati have been too engrossed in their projects to notice. We predict that whoever wins the next general election will scrap the HIPs/HCR scheme although we may still be saddled with the energy efficiency reports.