View more on these topics

Whitehall must change tack on HIPs

I recently had the pleasure of being involved in two sporting pursuits, horse racing and sailing. I entertained some industry guests at Epsom on Ladies Day, but missed Frankie Dettori finally winning his elusive Derby.

I was more hands-on with the sailing. This time I was a guest, racing a 37ft yacht around the Solent. To add some spice to proceedings, the boat we were racing against just happened to have both my boss and my wife on board.

We started well and made good progress on the downwind leg to take a healthy lead. Unfortunately, a muffed tack and a shift in the wind went against us. The other boat took the spoils and my wife won the bragging rights. She tells me it all boiled down to her boat having superior tactics and better teamwork.

My sporting exploits offered a salutary reminder that what matters is the result. And to get the desired result you need to be willing to change tactics if things go against you. My boss told me that when his boat was falling behind, the skipper decided to try something different. So they tacked away, found better wind and it paid off.

The government could do with spending a few days on the Solent to learn about changing tactics. Its implementation of Home Information Packs has been shambolic so far, but the race isn’t done yet. HIPs can still be a success.

But rather than doggedly pushing on with a plan that is falling apart, Whitehall needs to start listening to the industry’s experts and find ways to get HIPs back on course. There is too much at stake for it to make any more duff decisions.

Thousands of energy assessors have committed time and money to training, with the not unreasonable expectation of employment. Do-zens of HIP providers have developed services that will start work two months later than ex-pected, leaving them out of pocket. Even then they will only have a fraction of the housing market available to them.

Lenders, estate agents, lawyers and others have also invested time, effort and cash preparing for HIPs, not to mention consumers who must be bewildered by all the comings and goings.

So the next few weeks are critical. The government must show it has learnt its lessons if it wants to recapture the goodwill and commitment of the housing industry and maintain credibility with the public. It’s time for it to take a different tack.


Question marks over AHIPP’s strategy

Now the dust is slowly settling after the debacle of the recent Home Information Pack delay, it’s not only the government that may be questioning the merits of its strategy.

Don’t write off buy-to-let just yet

Pundits who predict a buy-to-let market crash fail to take account of the fundamental strengths of the sector and underestimate the staying power of landlords, says Mark Harris

Silent partner bought out was launched in December 1999 by Simon Nixon and Duncan Cameron. Originally based in Chester, the price comparison website and its 400-odd staff now have a home in Ewloe, North Wales. Nixon recently bought out silent partner Cameron’s 48% stake.

Kevin McCloud turns developer

A TV presenter has set out to beat the government and build 200 zerocarbon homes.This month, government agency English Partnerships launched an initiative whereby house builders could vie for the rights to develop one of five zero-carbon villages.But Kevin McCloud, presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Des-igns, is going it alone and promoting green homes by […]

Health - thumbnail

Healthcare predictions for 2015 from Jelf Employee Benefits

The continuing fall-out from the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) review, the rise of the private GP and digital engagement will be the primary focuses in the private healthcare industry during 2015, according to Iain Laws, managing director, healthcare and group risk, at Jelf Employee Benefits.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up