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Anti-HIP campaigners petition Blair’s website

Campaigners against the introduction of Home Information Packs have hit Prime Minister Tony Blair with a 2,500 strong petition as they look to derail the nationwide introduction of HIPs in June.

The petition pulled in the signatures within 24 hours of it being posted on the Prime Minister’s website and campaigners are looking to recruit a high profile chairman to head a delegation to Downing Street. One suggestion is the former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, Sir Digby Jones.

The anti-HIP movement last week received a boost after members of the National Association of Estate Agents voted unanimously in favour of convening a meeting with other stakeholders to decide what action to take.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the NAEA, is writing to stakeholders believed to include the Law Society and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, asking them to present a unified voice to the government in opposing the present schedule for the introduction of HIPs.

Trevor Kent, former president of the NAEA, says: “As of today there are just 88 working days before the government foists upon an unwilling industry – not to mention public – the most ill-conceived, ill-researched and ill-tested change to property sales law and practices that England and Wales have ever seen.”

From June 1 it will be mandatory for every home seller to produce a HIP before they can market and sell their property.

Last week’s meeting of the NAEA saw Kent propose Sir Digby to head the new opposition group – a suggestion that Bolton King agrees would add weight to the campaign.

But Mike Ockenden, directorgeneral of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers, says he would be surprised if Sir Digby headed what he terms “an anticonsumer” campaign.

He adds: “There is nothing new in what Kent is saying and this campaign will not derail the introduction of HIPs.”

Sir Digby was unavailable for comment.

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