Support grows to save Land Registry jobs

Gordon Marsden meets members of the PCS union at Parliament over the HM Land Registry privatisation issue
Gordon Marsden meets members of the PCS union at Parliament over the HM Land Registry privatisation issue
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A Blackpool MP has said opposition is growing to government plans to privatise the Land Registry, a move which could threaten hundreds of Fylde coast jobs.

Labour’s Gordon Marsden said that a warning from the British Property Federation showed the folly of the plans.

The Land Registry plays a crucial role in ensuring that real estate transactions are transparent and smoothly effected

More than 240 civil servants work on the Fylde for HM Land Registry on which has offices at Warton.

The Blackpool South MP said the Government “sneaked” out the announcement of the proposal on the last day of Parliament before Easter so MPs could not debate it properly and the consultation period which ended this week was only for six weeks.

The Government said the sale could raise around £1bn.

The British Property Federation warned that the changes to “this critical service” could be seen as a threat to the security of property title in the UK , which would spook investors.

Melanie Leech, chief executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The Land Registry plays a crucial role in ensuring that real estate transactions are transparent and smoothly effected. It also plays an important part in making the UK attractive to those who invest in our towns and cities. Our concern would be that in the rush to push through these proposals important questions about the quality of service do not get the airing they deserve. The Land Registry is often taken for granted but its activities facilitate important and much-needed regeneration across the country.”

Mr Marsden said: “This emphasises the case against the privatisation. The real issue’s not just in terms of cost but also in terms of our sense of security surrounding property details.”

He urged people to get behind the 33 Degrees campaign against privatisation by signing the petition which could spark a Parliamentary debate.

Opposition grows to Government privatisation proposals

The HM Land Registry proposals have been widely criticised by groups including the competition watchdog, solicitors and media companies who said the use of the records for investigative journalism was vital as well as for other services for homeowners. 
They said access to data would be harder if the records were in private hands and were concerned that that information would be sold for commercial gain.

The PCS Union has also opposed the sell off saying it threatened 4,500 jobs nationally. General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Allowing a private company to profit from the Land Registry’s legal and statutory duties risks the stability of the housing market and would increase costs to homebuyers and businesses.”