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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 March 2007, 12:53 GMT
Ministers push home sales scheme
Couple house hunting
The new scheme will include an energy report on sellers' homes
A government campaign to raise awareness of Home Information Packs has been launched.

Home sellers in England and Wales will have to offer the packs, including documents such as surveys and local authority searches, from 1 June.

Housing minister Yvette Cooper says the scheme, which includes an energy report on properties, will benefit consumers and the environment.

Critics say the packs, which will cost about 400, are confused and flawed.

'Clearer information'

Ms Cooper said: "We do recognise that it's an uncomfortable process for those in the industry who don't want to see change.

"This is in the interests of consumers and in the interests of the environment to have proper energy ratings on your home so you can cut your fuel bills and your carbon emissions, and also to have much clearer, earlier information in a way that promotes competition and brings some of those costs down as well."

Jeremy Leaf, of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), said the policy was being "rushed through".

He said: "The closer it gets to that June date, the more scared we are that there will be major problems."

'Devastating impact'

Earlier this month, a group including the Law Society and Council of Mortgage Lenders said ministers declined a meeting to discuss their concerns about the plan.

The group said HIPs, which have been trialled since November last year, would have a "devastating impact" on the housing market.

The government believes HIPs will speed up the selling process and give buyers added protection.

The Association of Home Information Pack Providers, which will represent firms providing HIPs, has reassured ministers that their introduction will be handled "effectively and efficiently".

People give their views on the home packs

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