Ruth Kelly tells MPs that the start date for Home Information Packs will be delayed by two months

In a shock turnaround Ruth Kelly announced yesterday that the introduction of the controversial Home Information Packs (HIPs) will be delayed by two months.

For sale signs

The Communities Secretary announced that the packs will now be implemented on August 1 and will be phased in. They will start off applying only to houses with four bedrooms or more and will be applied to smaller properties over time when more energy assessors are available.

The government admitted that there would not be enough trained assessors to carry out the inspections needed to award the main part of the pack – the energy performance certificate (EPC) after months of speculation.

A HIP implementation body had confirmed around 2400 assessors were available to start work on June 1 but Kelly admitted the figure was only 520. She said: “We will not have enough inspectors available to meet our needs.”The introduction of Home Information Packs (HIPs) has been delayed by Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly.

There have been concerns that HIPs will result in a slump in the housing market and will be expensive to put together.

Shadow housing minister Michael Gove said: "The government's plans for HIPs are unravelling. Ministers must now acknowledge that they have botched this from beginning to end."

"Now is the time to work with us in the interests of the housing market and combating climate change.”

RICS' Jeremy Leaf said last week the packs would make it "more expensive and more difficult" for people to put their homes on the market, as well as being less "green" than they could be.