View more on these topics

Forget trying to talk sense into MPs

Last week I was invited to speak about Home Information Packs in the House of Commons. I accepted the invitation but I had doubts about how worthwhile the exercise would be. These doubts were well founded.

The day started badly when I emerged from the tube station to find it pouring with rain. I had no coat or umbrella. I made a dash for the House only to find a queue of tourists waiting for a tour of the building. I asked a gun-toting policeman where I should report to, pointing out that I had been invited to a meeting.

I was informed that I had to join the queue and wait my turn. Half an hour in the rain later, I just about made it to the meeting on time. I enquired why an entrance system could not be introduced with two check-in points – one for people with meetings and one for tourists. The MPs said it was beyond them to make such a monumental change. This did not bode well as far as changes to HIPs were concerned.

A grand total of eight MPs and Lords attended the meeting. HIPs will affect every home owner in the UK and cost a minimum of about 350 each – not an insignificant amount. If the meeting had been to debate headscarves I’m sure half the MPs in town would have turned out.

Anyway, on to the discussion – and my next disappointment. The MPs and Lords displayed a mixture of disinterest, ignorance and apathy. We discussed the problems arising out of delays with local searches, we discussed the training and qualification of enough inspectors and we looked at issues such as the cost of HIPs and the education of consumers.

Were the issues thoroughly addressed and resolved? Of course not. This was Parliament. I left the meeting feeling rather like the weather – damp and despondent.

Since my meeting, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Council of Mortgage Lenders have launched attacks on the government about HIPs. RICS has made a Freedom of Information Act request to spur the government into doing something. The CML is using strong words to try to provoke a reaction.

I have some advice for CML director-general Michael Coogan. Forget strong words. If you expect MPs to see sense and make changes you’ll end up waiting a long time. I suggest you put on a Batman suit, phone the News of the World and chain yourself to a balcony at Buckingham Palace. More MPs will take note of what you have to say.


Accord Mortgages launches second phase of its integration with Trigold

Accord Mortgages has launched the second phase of its integration with Trigold with the creation of a seamless online connection for full mortgage applications through Trigold’s E-trading centre. With over 50 leading lenders able to receive online applications via the E-trading centre, Trigold is the undisputed leader in mortgage trading and the E-Trading Centre is […]

City of London residents most polluting

The Liberal Democrat Party has revealed the City of London emits 55 times more carbon dioxide per head than Hackney. Research shows that the UK is emitting almost four times the current global average emissions, with an average of around 9.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. The top five areas producing the most […]

Cost of living up

The cost of living has gone up 16% in the past decade, according to Barclays Life Insurance. Over that period, life insurance has been one of the few products to fall in price.

Stockton triumphant in New York

HBOS’s Nigel Stockon was triumphant at this weekend’s New York City Marathon, clocking home an impressive three hours and 56 minutes to take the Dity Dozen crown.The managing director of HBOS Intermediaries was running in the annual event as part of a crack squad of 12 marathoners assembled by Kevin Duffy, managing director of Hamptons […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up