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Consultation launched on moving Land Registry to private sector

Words: Laura Edgar

Business secretary Sajid Javid has launched a consultation into the options for moving Land Registry operations into the private sector.

The government proposes that the Crown should retain ownership of the Land Register, and offer “key protections” to customers. This includes fees being set before Parliament and the continuation of the state-backed guarantee when a loss is incurred as a result of a mistake in the register.

The preferred model being offered, said the government, is a privatisation of the Land Registry, consisting of a contract between government and a private operator. All the core functions would be transferred out of the public sector, but key safeguards for Land Registry customers and the government would be maintained.

The government added that the sale of the Land Registry would allow it to “pay down debt” or enable other investment “for the benefit of taxpayers”.

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 close on 26 May. The consultation document can be found here (pdf).

The Land Registry registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

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