The government has published a public consultation on privatising Land Registry.
The consultation document says: “This consultation sets out options to move Land Registry into the private sector. A sale of Land Registry is expected to deliver a capital receipt for Government. This can be invested elsewhere for the benefit of the tax payer. In addition, it is expected that a transaction could support Land Registry to be run efficiently and effectively and support the UK property market.”
The foreword from the Secretary of State says: “Where we can help achieve goals through selling public sector assets, without detriment to delivering public services, it makes sense that we do so. In the 2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review this Government has therefore targeted up to £5billion of additional corporate and financial asset sales by March 2020.
“Land Registry has recently celebrated a landmark 150th year and continues to be an essential part of land and property ownership in England and Wales. It undertakes a range of functions and responsibilities, which support an effective and functioning property market by providing assurance to those who have an interest in land and property and state-backed guarantee to title. In this way, a well-functioning Land Registry underpins housing supply, home ownership and economic growth.
“Those functions remain crucial, but as long as the right protections are put in place, including keeping the statutory register under government ownership, there is no reason for all of the functions Land Registry carries out to be undertaken within the public sector. Indeed, Land Registry could have more freedom in the private sector to continue to evolve into a high performing, innovative business, delivering for customers and the wider market in a 21st century, digital economy.”
The consultation itself begins by posing the question “Do you agree that ownership of the Registers should remain in government?”