Monday, October 01, 2007

Self denial in impotence, or latest Tory promise

How is it that the Tories think that they can get away with abolishing the much reviled Home Information Packs (HIPs)?
After all as was pointed out by their own pet think tank, Open Europe,

"an EU directive agreed in 2002, “The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive”
required that homes and other buildings should have an energy efficiency survey when they are bought, sold or rented. This would then be used to produce the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which would give homes an efficiency grade from “A” to “G” (with A as the most efficient). This was supposed to encourage people to adopt more energy efficiency measures. The Government decided to bundle in the new EU energy certificate with the old idea for a Home Information Pack. However, the legislation has been revised several times, and in practice when the “pack” comes into force on 1 June this year it will contain little other than the EU Energy Performance Certificate".
So how is it that Grant Shapps, the Shadow Housing Minister can today claim at the Tory conference,

"The experts ridiculed them. The industry doesn't want them... and I can announce that the next Conservative government will scrap them".
After all it isn't up to him or indeed a Tory Government, thye would need to get the unanimous agreement of the EU 27 at Council. Which, as I have pointed out before would be rather unlikely.


Fran Mack said...

It would be very easy indeed to abolish HIPs. They've been thoroughly watered down, as you rightly point out. And, to meet the EU directive, all you have to do is make production of a valid EPC part of the conveyancing process when a property is sold. That would be a very simple thing to do. This EPC, by the way, may be up to ten years old under the EU directive, so it doesn't even need to be newly done. Rental properties are covered already by the changes to legislation in assorted Housing Acts, especially that of 2004. (I was compliance manager for HIPS for a while,)

The Laughing Cavalier said...

We should do what the rest of the EU countries do, which is to pay lip service to the legislation we don't like and ignore it in practise.

Elaib said...


You are right, but that is merely window dressing. A Tory Government, I accept could abolish the HIPs as they are, but the practical effect would be minimal if the costs of the energy certificate was just added to the normal conveyancing costs.
It would be like saying 'there is no Europen Foriegn Minister', we have rehatted the post as the High Representative for Foriegn and Security affairs'.

Other than the PR fluff, what reduction of the current costs would there be for Joe public? (Admittedly at the very least a layer of bureacracy could well be swept away).

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