"Poor preparation" blamed for fiasco surrounding the introduction of Hips

MPs have criticised the government for causing delays in the introduction of the controversial Hips scheme.

A select committee inquiry has blamed “poor preparation” by the Department for Communities and Local Government for the fiasco surrounding the introduction of Hips. The committee said that the delay to the introduction was taken on political rather than economic grounds.

Yvette Cooper

Hips were meant to be introduced in full in June, but instead the scheme was rolled out in phases, only being completed in December.

The government had blamed a lack of qualified home inspectors and “conditions in the housing and mortgage market generally” for the troubled introduction. But the select committee’s report said that this was the fault of the government, claiming people were reluctant to pay out for training “for jobs the government would not guarantee would exist.”

The report said: “There were not enough inspectors because the CLG first watered down and then repeatedly delayed the introduction of Hips.” It also criticised housing minister Yvette Cooper for being “repeatedly unclear” about what market conditions had contributed to the delay.

Shadow housing minister Grant Schaps said: “At a time when the housing market needs certainty and stability Labour provided chaos and confusion. Yvette Cooper should release the results of the HIPs’ trials, apologise to hard pressed home owners, and scrap this hated policy. The market doesn't need HIPs, the industry doesn't want them and consumers don't care about them”.

He also repeated Tory calls for Hips to be scrapped. “Labour should perform one of their trademark climbdowns and axe a policy which is increasingly strangling a struggling housing market," he said.