Wednesday 7 September 2016 2:52 pm

Plans to sell the Land Registry have been shelved by ministers

The government has dropped plans to sell the Land Registry, first mooted by former chancellor George Osborne.

Osborne had hoped to raise as much as £5bn by 2020 from a programme of sales including the agency, which records ownership of land and property.

The Treasury expected to sell the Land Registry for more than £1bn alone, and plans were expected to be laid out in the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which goes before parliament later today.

However, the sale comes under the remit of the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and ministers installed by Theresa May have since decided the revisit the sale.

A government source said: “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.”

A date has not yet been set for the government to return to the decision.

Read More: Rothschild hired to look at privatising Land Registry

Efforts to sell off the Land Registry under the coalition government were blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

And responding to the latest news, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said: “It is in the best interests of the public to make this data free, which is something that we proposed in Coalition.

“Privatisation will drive up prices and will have a detrimental long term effect on the economy. The register is self-financing and poses no burdens upon the taxpaying public, to privatise it will only reduce people’s confidence in the registry itself.”