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Land Registry Sell-Off Could Damage Confidence And Housing Market

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Land Registry sell-off could damage confidence and housing market

Plans announced today (17) to move a step closer to privatising the Land Registry risk undermining public confidence and the housing market.

The government wants to remove the Land Registry and its staff from the civil service and turn it into a 'GovCo', owned by the government but operating as a private company.

The union fears this will pave the way for full privatisation and says this would be disastrous for what is a well trusted and popular public service.

This comes as the union prepares for its annual conference in Brighton next week, where opposition to cuts and privatisation will feature heavily.

Despite repeated requests Land Registry senior managers have been unable to say why the move is necessary and the union believes it is purely ideological.

A similar move in the Forensic Science Service several years ago led to the organisation being run down to the extent it was closed and forensic analysis and testing fully privatised, with experts warning about the increased likelihood of miscarriages of justice.

Independence from conveyancers and financial institutions is an essential feature of the Land Registry's role, allowing it to deal equitably with members of the public, small and largescale solicitors and lenders.

In the registry's latest customer service survey run by Ipsos Mori, it scored a 97% satisfaction rate, with one of the highest rated areas being "trust in maintaining the integrity and accuracy of registers".

The union says this could be undermined by the drive for profit and the real potential for conflicts of interest - particularly under full privatisation - with serious consequences for public confidence and the housing market.

The impact on our economy would more than wipe out any perceived cost savings, the union says.

Selling it to whom? Banks or venture capitalists?...creating an even less impartial assessment of the property market?

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Here's a little Land Registry test to see what you are buying. Take a house price of £162,080 now add 1.0%, then add an additional 0.2% and finally add another 0.1%. The answer according to the LR is £161.793. Three months of rises = a fall in price.

Seasonally adjusted figures ?

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  • 242 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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      • down 5% +
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