New HIPS requirements expensive, pointless and damaging

The controversial packs from today must be made available before a house is put on the market.

But a survey from the National Association of Estate Agents found that the vast majority of property professionals - 89 per cent - do not believe that the new requirements are beneficial to buyers.

In fact, 65 per cent believe that the new arrangements will actually discourage sellers from putting their properties up for sale - helping an already slumping property market to slow down further.

The estate agent figures are mirrored by the Government's own statistics, which showed that 77 per cent of house buyers paid no attention to HIPs when they decided whether or not to buy a property.

The National Association of Estate Agents has called for Home Information Packs to be scrapped during the recession, and for the Government to re-examine their viability once the economy begins to grow again.

Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: "It is extremely worrying that the Government is pushing ahead with an ill-judged and unpopular scheme that, in the opinion of UK property professionals, will actually slow the market down.

"It reflects a stubbornness on the part of the Government and a reluctance to admit that HIPs in the main are pointless and expensive - and according to their own figures, ignored by the very people they claim benefit from them.

"Surely between them Alistair Darling and Margaret Beckett can see that HIPs should be suspended - not made compulsory."