Privatisation on the cards for UK Land Registry

THE FUTURE of the Land Registry was put under the spotlight yesterday, as the government announced the start of a consultation on ensuring the agency delivers “more efficient and modern services”.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the government was considering “measures to enable the business of land registration to be more deliver-focused and for land registry to have greater flexibility to operate”, paving the way to split the service into two portions, allowing for a part privatisation.

“By focusing on our customer needs, we will continue to improve our service delivery and make the process of dealing in land and property more efficient,” said Ed Lester, the agency’s chief land registrar.

The consultation on the Land Registry’s business strategy will run for eight weeks, during which time business minister Michael Fallon has invited all interested stakeholders to let the government know their views.

Under the proposals, the group would be split into a regulatory arm, which would remain under government control in an attempt to protect customers’ interests.

The Land Registry says that the other half of the agency, which could be privatised, would be able to “focus on the delivery of land and property services”.

BIS insisted that the ownership of the delivery service was under consideration, and that no decision had yet been made.

The move comes after a number of other privatisations by BIS, including the flotation of the Royal Mail and partial sales of the student loan book.

Business secretary Vince Cable was criticised over the sale of the Royal Mail last year, rejecting claims that shares in the firm were underpriced.

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April 22, 2014, 2:25pm