Secret government research reveals HIPs have failed

The Government’s flagship housing policy of Home Information Packs was in tatters yesterday as they were condemned by Whitehall’s own research.

A secret research report, commissioned at taxpayers’ expense in April 2008, highlights how Home Information Packs have considered “a waste of time” and reveals consumer alarm at the deteriorating economy under Gordon Brown.

Despite this research, Ministers have stated this month they will not review HIPs until 2010, alarmingly admitting that they do not expect the housing market to return “to more normal conditions” until then.

Answers to Parliamentary Questions by Conservatives have compelled Ministers to publish opinion research into Home Information Packs provided by polling firm GFK NOP, at a cost of £60,000.

Almost 4,000 buyers, sellers and estate agents across the country were surveyed.

The report has never been made public until now; this is unsurprising, since the results savage HIPs, introduced last year.

Grant Shapps MP, Shadow Minister for Housing, says: “Labour have been caught red-handed trying to hide a damning indictment of this pointless and expensive red tape. One year on, the public don’t trust the paper these Packs are written on.

“Home Information Packs have served to undermine the housing market, increased the cost of buying and selling a home, duplicated surveys and discouraged speculative sellers.

“The only people who want to keep these broken HIPs are the vested interests who are peddling them, and the Government Ministers who are falsely using the green fig leaf of the environment to justify this latest public policy disaster.

“The example of Northern Ireland shows that HIPs simply aren’t needed to introduce Energy Performance Certificates and help people go green.

“Conservatives will scrap this red tape. This will speed up the housing market and make it easier to get on and move up the housing ladder.”