Many constituents have contacted me recently with their concerns about proposals to move operations of the Land Registry into the private sector. 

 

A strong economy lies at the heart of good government - not spending more than we can afford and reducing the national debt. Where the Government can help achieve these goals through selling public sector assets, without detriment to delivering public services, it makes sense to do so.  

 

The Land Registry continues to be an essential part of land and property ownership in England and Wales. It undertakes a range of functions and responsibilities, which support an effective and functioning property market by providing assurance to those who have an interest in land and property and a state-backed guarantee to title. In this way, a well-functioning Land Registry underpins housing supply, home ownership and economic growth.  

 

Those functions remain crucial, but as long as the right protections are put in place, including keeping the statutory register under Government ownership, there is no reason for all of the functions Land Registry carries out to be undertaken within the public sector. Indeed, the Land Registry could have more freedom in the private sector to continue to evolve into a high performing, innovative business, delivering for customers and the wider market in a 21st century, digital economy.  

 

I believe it therefore makes sense to pursue a move of the Land Registry into the private sector that could maximise a sizeable return to Government to reduce debt, and provide a more suitable environment for the future of the organisation. Rest assured, however, high quality Land Registry services and confidence in the property market will remain a priority for the Government throughout this process.

 

The Government consultation on this has recently ended and the responses are now being analysed. I will continue to follow the matter closely and will update constituents when there is further news.

 

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In relation to constituent’s further queries about the motives of potential buyers of the Land Registry, I understand that although the Government has set out a proposed model of the land registration operation, no final decisions have been made. As such, we cannot pre-judge what any final model will look like.


However, under all proposals currently being considered, the Land Register for both England and Wales would remain under Crown ownership to ensure the integrity of the register is maintained and, as well as retaining the register under Crown ownership.

 

The Government is considering a range of protections and safeguards to protect land registry customers and the wider economy if there were to be a privatisation, such as data protection, disputes handling and fee setting.