We did it! The Land Registry stays public
If you have ever bought or sold a house then you have benefitted from our publicly owned Land Registry. Since 1862, the Land Registry has been recording the ownership of land and property in England and Wales. With over 24 million titles, underpinning guarantees for £3 trillion worth of property, the Land Registry performs a crucial role in our economy. Not only does the Land Registry not cost you a penny, but it has returned a profit to the Treasury in 19 out of the last 20 years, while continuing to offer you lower fees.
Last year the government renewed its plans to privatise the Land Registry but – with your support – we joined with other campaigners to stop them!
Wtf has been happening?
But, in 2016, the Land Registry came under threat from privatisation again. Our supporters helped us to fund a report showing what a bad idea this would be for our economy. The report was quoted six times in a House of Commons debate in June.
"As a recent report from the New Economics Foundation made clear, in the long term, the sale of the Land Registry would result in a significant loss of income to the Treasury.” Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (City of Durham, Labour)
Thankfully, the government confirmed in its Autumn Statement 2016 that the Land Registry would not be sold off!
We love the Land Registry
The Land Registry consistently reports high levels of your approval – with a customer satisfaction rate of 94%. With rates as high as this, it is unsurprising that nearly 70% of us want the service to remain in public hands.
Public ownership works
The Land Registry is a natural monopoly, which means it makes sense to keep the service under public ownership rather than split it up and sell it off. This is why a competition watchdog opposed the Land Registry sell off. If we sold off the Land Registry, then in just 25 years time we would be losing out on profits. The state guarantee means that you are more protected from errors and the service is more accountable than if we had a privatised Land Registry.
To continue to make life easier for consumers, the Land Registry is also planning moves to increased digital services. In the Autumn Statement 2016, the government admitted that this would be easier if the Land Registry was kept in public hands.
“Following consultation the government has decided that HM Land Registry should focus on becoming a more digital data-driven registration business, and to do this will remain in the public sector” Autumn Statement 2016
The proposal to make Land Registry data free and easy to access would be brilliant as it would allow you to see who really owns our land. This idea has also been strongly supported by the housing charity Shelter, who argue more open data would help the market work efficiently and more homes to be built.
We saved the Land Registry
We joined other campaigners - including PCS union, 38 degrees and lawyers - to help stop the privatisation of the Land Registry. And the government dropped its sell off plans - we won!