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Government Confirms Land Registry Will Stay In Public Sector And Focus On Digital Data-Driven Registration

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

On 24 March 2016, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) launched a consultation on the privatisation of the Land Registry (LR).

On 8 October 2018, the government responded to this consultation. The response (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/land-registry-moving-operations-to-the-private-sector) confirms the government’s position set out in the 2016 Autumn Statement; the LR will remain in the public sector in order to focus on becoming a more digital data-driven registration business.

The government response addressed various themes such as the choice of privatisation model, the level of data available and the required safeguards. It also looked at concerns about changing what is a high performing, profitable organisation, and the possibility that the LR could be acquired by a foreign entity, as well as the impact of change on the local land charges programme. These themes were considered against the consultation objectives to:

  • Maximise upfront proceeds for the Exchequer.
  • Allow certain private sector freedoms and incentives to transform the service.
  • Deliver a modern, digitally-based service.

The government stated that digitisation and increased transparency will allow the LR to provide a quicker, more efficient service and maximise its value to the economy and ultimately speed up the home buying process. The government’s view is that such improvements are best delivered if the LR remains in the public sector.

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