Sajid Javid, the Business Secretary, has announced a consultation into the privatisation of the Land Registry. The timing, the day before the Easter holidays, has though been criticised.
The Government announcement said:
“The preferred model being proposed is a privatisation of Land Registry consisting of a contract between government and a private operator, with all the core functions transferred out of the public sector, but with key safeguards for Land Registry customers and government being maintained.
The sale of Land Registry will allow government to pay down debt, or enable other investment for the benefit of taxpayers. It is expected that a move into the private sector would also allow Land Registry to become even more efficient and effective as part of its transformation programme”.
Sajid Javid said:
“Anyone who’s bought a flat or a house knows that the Land Registry has an important role to play in property ownership.
By proposing a model where government retains critical functions, including ownership of the Register itself, we are delivering on our promise to ensure the sale of public assets benefits the wider economy and all working people in the longer-term”.
The consultation will last for nine weeks, ending on 26 May 2016. Mark Serwotka, the General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, criticised the timing of the announcement:
“Homebuyers and owners rely on the Land Registry to provide an impartial professional service and it must remain under public control, free from any profit motive and conflict of interest.
It is utterly disgraceful that the government waited until the end of the day before MPs break for Easter to publish its consultation, but is a sure sign ministers know the strength and breadth of opposition they will face”.