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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Surveyors are latest to come out against Land Registry privatisation

The Residential Property Surveyors Association is the latest of many trade bodies to come out against government proposals to privatise the Land Registry. 

In an open letter to the government, outlining its suggestions to stimulate the housing market, it calls on Theresa May to “forget distractions such as privatising the Land Registry which could negatively impact on the market.”

The privatisation was suggested by the Cameron government as part of a wider project to raise an additional £5 billion in corporate and financial asset sales by 2020.

The idea has attracted criticism from MPs across all major political parties and opposition from organisations including the National Association of Estate Agents, the Conveyancing Association and even the Competition and Markets Authority. There has also been an online petition against the idea which attracted well over 250,000 signatures.

Most opponents argue that the privatisation risks reducing to Land Registry data in order to weaken competition to its own commercial products.

The RPSA - in addition to its outspoken comments over the privatisation proposal - wants the government to scrap stamp duty, introduce a house building programme coordinated by local authorities, speed up the reduction of corporation tax for small business to 10 per cent, and increase the VAT threshold to encourage growth amonst small firms that service the housing industry.

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    The land registry should be protected at all costs from privatisation. It is one of the most important facilities for inward property investment the UK has. Would you buy any land and build in a country which didn't operate a correct and respected land registry - just to have someone turn up with an ancient document claiming ownership of the land, as happens in Greece, Spain, and Cyprus?? No amount of scrutiny would replace the current honest culture of Land Registry employees. Instead of selling this asset, are HMRC using it to trace landlords not declaring their income from rented properties? I don't know the answer to this question, but surely they should be, and so benefit the nation from this well respected institution and service. Are the skills and experiences of setting up and running this valuable asset to the nation not offered as commercially valuable consultancy skills to other countries/territories? To me it is ridiculous to put such knowledge of the fundamental wealth of our nation state into private hands.

    The people who voted for Brexit, - the majority who voted, want less interference from other countries, - how can anyone prevent a privatized Land Registry being managed by foreign companies, or even foreign governments now or in the future? Privatize it and the nation has lost it. Let's face it judging by the absolutely ineffective way successive governments have failed to protect our privatized industries, steel/Tata Steel, the BHS closure and pensions fiasco, being recent examples, my message is, it should not be an asset any government should be allowed to sell.

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