Concerns that Hips are linked to council tax

Posted: 27 Mar 2006 11:07:13 GMT

            Property News - Concerns that Hips are linked to council tax

The debate over the various pros and cons of Home Information Packs (Hips) continues to rage, with critics claiming that the information will be used to increase council tax bills.

One of the key constituents of a Hip will be the home condition report, which has been introduced to provide buyers with every detail about the house that he or she could possibly require.

The government has consistently stated that this will make the house buying process more transparent, but the Conservatives are claiming that the information will be used to bring more finance to the Treasury.

"John Prescott's plans for new seller's packs are nothing less than a home information tax. It's just a stealthy way of conducting Labour's controversial council tax revaluation and rebanding by the backdoor," Caroline Spelman, the shadow secretary of state for local government, told the Sunday Telegraph.

The repost from Labour has been swift, with a spokesman for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister saying that the information will be used carefully.

"The register is designed to ensure and guarantee quality and authenticity. It will provide added protection for claims and legal redress. The government will be setting out who will have access to this. People will not have access for council tax purposes."

The chief argument in favour of Hips is that around £1 million is wasted everyday on failed transactions, with buyers forking out substantial figures on valuations, legal advice and searches for transactions that ultimately flop.

For those deciding to also pay thousands of pounds to estate agents, there are also these fees to consider, while the government argues that both buyer and seller will benefit from a more open process.

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