Thousands spent on HIP ads

The government has been accused of wasting public mon-ey after it admitted spending thousands of pounds on Home Information Pack press advertising prior to its U-turn on the legislation.

On June 15, housing minister Yvette Cooper responded to parliamentary questions regarding the advertisements. She confirmed that adverts had been placed in 117 trade and lifestyle magazines, plus local and national newspapers.

Between April 2006 and May 2007, 852 adverts were placed in these publications, with 538 of them published be-fore the HIPs U-turn on May 22.

A total of 299 adverts have been re-scheduled and Cooper says these will be used to promote the phased introduction of HIPs on August 1.

Cooper also revealed that 82,335 of public money had been spent on the marketing and advertising campaign to promote HIPs in the South-East.

Danny Lovey, proprietor of The Mortgage Practitioner, says: “This is another example of the government wasting money on HIPs. It ignored calls that they would not be ready by June 1 and still went ahead and advertised them in the press.

“It’s money down the drain. I think all the adverts have done is illustrate what a fiasco the HIP initiative is.”

But Dominic Tol-ler, director of marketing and new busi- ness at LMS, says: “In my view, this is money well spent and is not a wasted sum.

“But there still needs to be a focus on helping consum-ers to understand what HIPs are and how they work, because not enough has been done so far.”

Also last week, the Association of Home Information Pack Providers app-ointed a new chairman, Martin Will-ard, managing director of MDA In- formation Products. He will replace Ian Turner, development director of First Title, who has been with AHIPP since it was founded in 2005.