ODPM reshuffle sparks further HIPs debate

The government reshuffle, which saw Prescott stripped of his powers and Ruth Kelly take charge of the Department for Communities and Local Government, has caused brokers to think about how this will affect the implementation process.

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Brentchase Financial Services, said: “The government could use John Prescott’s departure to put HIPs on the backburner. A lot of well respected people within the industry have cast doubt on the whole thing. Many intermediaries think they will just add another layer of bureaucracy to the application process and the public are confused about what is happening. So they might wait to see how things pan out but might be better off waiting for the government to get its system in order first.”

Much of the current debate has been caused by the lack of information coming from the government regarding how Kelly will approach the issue.

Mark Sismey-Durrant, chief executive of Heritable Bank, said: “From what I have heard about Ruth Kelly, it will be business as usual for the time being. But the government will want to concentrate on popular issues now and avoid controversial issues, so if they start to encounter resistance, we could see them making some changes.”

However, Dominic Toller, director of marketing and new business at LMS, believed that while the head might have gone, the main body is still there to continue the implementation of the information packs.

He said: “The fact that John Prescott isn’t there any more should not make any difference. Civil servants have all the power anyway so there shouldn’t be a change there. Most of the housing market is now getting on with it so things should be full steam ahead for the implementation of HIPs.”