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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 July 2006, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Home is where the HIP is
BBC Radio 4 listener Niall Connolly
Niall Connolly has followed the development of HIPs closely

Inside Money returned with a programme about a subject which could hardly be more topical - home information packs or HIPs.

The government has come under fire this week after a surprise announcement that it will delay the introduction of a crucial part of its flagship policy.

The Housing Minister Yvette Cooper said on Tuesday that the new survey at the heart of the packs, called the Home Condition Report, needs further testing and will not come into force in June 2007 as planned.

The other elements of the pack - including a new Energy Performance Certificate - will still have to be provided by those selling their home in England and Wales from that date.

It had been hoped that forcing sellers to provide more information up-front would speed up sales, and stop a succession of buyers repeating surveys and searches on the same house, a form of duplication which wastes millions of pounds every year.

But the packs have long been controversial and many industry voices have repeatedly expressed substantial concerns about their implementation.

Despite dismissing those concerns until very recently, the government has now accepted that there may not be enough Home Inspectors in place in time to produce the new reports. It also admits that mortgage lenders will struggle to access the information they contain.

The Conservatives accused the government of carrying out a "u-turn". Its housing spokesman Michael Gove said the plans are now "a complete shambles".

One man who has followed the development of Home Information Packs with close interest is Radio 4 listener Niall Connolly. Having been both gazumped and gazundered, in 1997 he joined Inside Money to look at how to improve the flawed property market. The then new Labour government promised him it would tackle the issue. And the HIP is its solution.

This summer he returned to Inside Money to find out more about the packs, and investigate some of the industry concerns which may have prompted the government to change its mind.

BBC Radio 4's Inside Money returned on Saturday, 22 July, at 1204 BST and was repeated on Monday, 24 July, at 1502 BST.

Presenter: Lesley Curwen
Listener: Niall Connolly
Producer: Jennifer Clarke

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