Land Registry sale on hold
The government’s decision to scrap the privatisation of the Land Registry will benefit property buyers and sellers in Newington Green and the surrounding areas.
The Land Registry, which has recorded the ownership of property since 1862, was due to be sold off as part of plans drawn up by former Chancellor George Osborne to raise £5bn by 2020.
Details of the sale were expected to be included in the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which was launched in Parliament earlier this month.
Although the proposed legislation contains details of how the government plans to support more house building and provide more local say over the development of land, there is no mention of the Land Registry’s future ownership.
A government source explains: “No decision has been taken on the future of the Land Registry. A consultation on the Land Registry’s future closed in May and we are carefully considering our response. It is only right that new ministers take time to look at all their options before making a decision.”
Opponents of the Land Registry’s sale point out that the consultation failed to set out a framework for customer complaints or how the new owners would be held accountable for errors after the creation of an ombudsman was ruled out.
The Land Registry keeps the official record of commercial and residential land ownership in England and Wales, holding 24 million titles for properties. Data is available to the public via searches at £3 each, and used by other organisations to provide a range of services including the UK House Price Index.
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Although it is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Land Registry operates as an executive agency and a trading fund. In 2014/15 alone it cost almost £261m to run, but generated £297m of revenue.
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