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Concerns over future of Llansamlet’s Land Registry

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 28, 2014

Land Registry

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A SWANSEA MP has expressed her concern about the future of Llansamlet’s Land Registry — and the 438 jobs there.

The UK Government has announced plans to part-privatise the organisation which records the details of land ownership across Wales and England.

The coalition are looking at getting the private sector involved in running the department in a bid to save cash — options include a joint venture with private company, or letting a firm take over the running of the organisation.

But Swansea East MP Sian James said she was “deeply concerned” about the plans and its impact on Llansamlet — and questioned who would really benefit from any sell-off.

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She said: “It seems to me and staff that the government is using public spending restrictions to push forward its own market-driven ideology

“The government is fostering a policy of creeping privatisation throughout the public sector.

“This is happening in the name of greater efficiency — yet all the evidence shows that it’s the financial institutions and Tory party donors who most benefit from these sell-offs.

“We have seen similar moves to introduce ‘market-driven improvements’ in the DVLA and the Department of Transport’s shared services in Llansamlet.

“There is seldom any increased productivity gained through privatisation — running costs are pushed down and jobs are put under threat. It always results in charges going up for service users.”

She added: “If this happens with the Land Registry then the government could end up damaging the construction boom that it hopes to encourage.”

The Government plans are now subject to an eight-week public consultation.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said no decision had yet been made on the future of Land Registry.

He said: “Giving Land Registry more flexibility to operate in the modern world will enable them to become a leader in digitising land and property services and support economic growth in the wider economy.

“We welcome views from all interested stakeholders to help us shape the future of land registration services.”

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  • stevelasn  |  February 03 2014, 4:17PM

    This is part of a highly orchestrated plan to create a monopoly and then sell it off. Alongside this consultation LR are running another so called "consultation" titled 'Wider Powers and Local Land Charges' which if implemented will give Land Registry access to Local Authority Land Charges data and the public task of providing Local Searches, an essential component of the home buying process, their intention is to undoubtedly be followed by all property searches, Mining, Drainage, Environmental etc allowing LR to become a 'one stop shop', by April 2015, for property searches as stated by Chris Grayling (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice) in Parliament on 27th January 2014. This will result according to the consultation document and impact assessment with Land Registry becoming a monopoly supplier with at least 88% market share within 2 years, I think this used to be called nationalisation of private industry in the 1940's. Clearly this government are not into nationalisation, therefore the privatisation your article predicts is inevitable. The Land Charges wider powers proposal is to fatten up the LR and make it more appealing for privatisation, eventually leading to the digitisation of property transactions, the likely cost in jobs around 4000 at Land Registry, around 900 at Local Authorities around 1500 in the private sector search businesses. The Association of Independent Personal Search Agents (IPSA) have started Judicial Review action against the wider powers consultation, its timescale and the proposals to introduce cost recovery charging despite this being incompatible with european legislation (EIR and PSIR). The Land Registrys proposals would impose an increase of at least 100% or more on the search fee when buying property in Wales due to the Welsh fee being fixed unlike England, yet the consultation has not even been published in Welsh. Whilst this does not even mention the consultation being published in welsh a previous consultation contained the following derogatory text "After careful consideration, we decided not to produce a Welsh language version of the proposed amendment rules, the consultation document or the consultation response document. Our Welsh Language Scheme recognises that some material, such as this, is too technical and complex to make a Welsh version practicable."

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  • Wookiee  |  January 28 2014, 10:26PM

    Land Registry has made a surplus in all but one year since it came into being. This year the organisation is paying a special dividend to the Treasury of £100m, on top of its normal dividend. Draw your own conclusions...

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  • Zoomer  |  January 28 2014, 2:25PM

    Does anyone know what the profit and loss situation is within The Land Registry ? Does the Government want to offload it because it's losing money, or, does the Government want to offload it because it's a little bit more of "the family silver" that could be used to offset Government borrowings ? Answers anyone ?

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