Cooper dismisses Lords attack on home-seller packs

3 May 07
Housing minister Yvette Cooper has dismissed peers' criticism of her incoming Home Improvement Packs as representing vested interests and failing to understand the environmental benefits of property modernisation.

04 May 2007

Housing minister Yvette Cooper has dismissed peers' criticism of her incoming Home Improvement Packs as representing vested interests and failing to understand the environmental benefits of property modernisation.

Cooper's Department for Communities and Local Government issued the rebuke following a House of Lords committee report, published on May 1. This criticised the introduction of Hips on June 1 as rushed, and argued that opposition to the packs within the housing industry was 'striking' and 'widespread.'

The Lords' statutory instruments scrutiny committee, chaired by Labour peer Lord Filkin, warned that estate agents and housing lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the introduction of Hips, which require house sellers in England and Wales to provide full details of title deeds, local searches and their property's energy efficiency.

Conservative peers and MPs have also expressed concerns, while industry opponents claim that there is a shortage of personnel qualified to assess the environmental impact of properties.

But Cooper hit back. 'It's unfortunate the committee did not take evidence from environmental groups nor from industry groups who support Hips,' she said.

'Of course there are some groups with a vested interest who are resistant to change but we believe reform is needed to help the environment and the consumer.'

Mike Ockenden, director general of the Association of Home Improvement Pack Providers, said the peers' report was 'slanted and jaundiced.'

PFmay2007

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