"When you've dug yourself into a hole you should stop digging"

So yesterday, as promised, Ruth Kelly outlined the plans for the implementation of HIPs. All houses with four or more bedrooms will be required to have them from August 1st, then it will be a phased implementation with three bedroom houses next and then the rest of the market to follow. That is that all cleared up then. Thank goodness for that.

Then again, we still don't have any strict definition of what a four or three bedroom house is. Nor do we know when the second three bedroom phase will begin. Nor do we know when the remaining part of the market will be required to take them up. In fact, was there anything in yesterday’s announcement that we didn't already know? Well, there were a couple of little things...

Firstly, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) are calling the scheme "Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) and Home Information Packs (HIPs)" on their website. Technically correct, but a clear distinction between the EPCs and HIPs - maybe I'm reading too much in to this, but maybe, just maybe they going to quietly drop the second half of that statement and just go with the EPCs..? The government have made so many u-turns during this fiasco they don’t even which way they are facing – so anything is possible!

Secondly, the DCLG promised that any EPCs or HIPs that aren't delivered within seven days with receive a refund of £100. Talk about making a rod for your own back! What are the chances of the government not having to pay out thousands on the back of that promise! What's more their generosity knows no bounds - but then again it's not surprising because they are using public money to pay the refund.

This ridiculous farce continues to run - it is quite amazing. As the Law Society deputy vice-president Paul March said "When you've dug yourself into a hole you should stop digging. All the government seem to be doing is buying more shovels." Chris Wood of the National Association for Estate Agents said: "No matter what the regulations say, if Hips are involved in their current form we urge the government to scrap the system and employ energy performance certificates as a stand-alone issue." Firm support there from the DCLG’s stakeholders.