The government has confirmed that it is looking to revive plans to privatise parts of Land Registry.
As part of an attempt to raise £5bn from the sale of corporate and financial assets, the spending review and autumn statement document, published on 25 November, says the government will ‘consult on options to move operations of the Land Registry to the private sector from 2017’, subject to a value for money assessment.
In July 2014, coalition ministers shelved a plan to turn the bulk of the organisation, which records all property transactions in England and Wales, into a standalone company in the run-up to privatisation.
Although the plan would have kept a core office of the chief land registrar within the public sector, it was widely condemned by conveyancing and legal experts.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said today:
‘The possible privatisation of the Land Registry has been considered for a long time, and the decision following the last consultation was postponed, not rejected. It has now been revived and we look forward to seeing the details of the government’s proposals for moving the operation of the Land Registry to the private sector from 2017.
‘We are particularly interested to see how the government conducts the “value for money” assessment. We would urge the government to ensure that any plans for privatisation protect the integrity of the register given its fundamental importance in underpinning the economy.’