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Land Registry: Government consultation flawed, so Perkins steps in

Following widespread concerns that a government consultation on the privatisation of the 150 year old Land Registry was flawed and biased, Labour yesterday hosted a formal evidence session for all MPs to allow all those organisations affected by the plans to have their say.

LR2Shadow Small Business Minister, Toby Perkins MP, who organised and chaired the meeting said:

“The government has made no compelling case whatsoever for privatisation of a government agency which returned a surplus of £98.8m to the Treasury last year.  I have received representations from lawyers, small businesses in the property industry, councils and unions who all oppose these plans.

LR1

“Worse, a leak to The Guardian newspaper in May indicated that the government had already made their mind up and were already developing detailed financial models of how to manage the privatisation.

“I therefore felt it was very important to give MPs the chance to hear all of the evidence for themselves.”

 

 

Those in attendance heard from:

  • LR4Private businesses in the property search industry: Who argued that the creation of a ‘state monopoly’ to sell off to the highest bidder would be a ‘data grab’ which would kill the current competitive market and stall innovation and creativity.
  • The Law Society: Who described how no rationale has been given for the change and there would be ‘lots of pain for unquantified gain’
  • Local Government representatives: Who described how Councils rely on the information held by the Land Registry for a huge variety of its functions, and will be hit by huge new costs if the system is changed.
  • Unions: Who emphasised the problem of handling of data in private hands, which will inevitably have its own property interests increases the chances of fraud or conflicts of interest.

Letter

At the time of The Guardian leak, Toby Perkins wrote to the minister responsible, Michael Fallon, asking him to restore confidence in the process by starting again with a new consultation.

Conveniently, Perkins received a reply from Fallon the day before the event in Parliament.  A copy of this letter is attached.

Perkins said:

LR3“It was interesting that minister did not deny that the meeting had only considered ways to drive forward privatisation.  He basically argues that as the process of transformation at the Land Registry would be long and complex they must start to prepare already. 

Whilst he insists that the status quo option is still on the table, his rush to prepare for an alternative will not give confidence to the many people affected by these decisions.”

 

 

 

Notes

For more information please call Toby Perkins on 020 7219 2320

The full list of witnesses at the event was as follows:

  • Michael Kavanagh, Public and Commercial Services Union
  • James Sherwood-Rogers, Council of Property Search Organisations
  • Clarissa Corbisiero, Local Government Association
  • Jonathan Smithers, The Law Society
  • Naomi Cook, First Division Association

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

Contact Toby

Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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