Dozens of MPs, from many parties, call for Land Registry sale to be halted

A former chief land registrar said a loss of confidence in the the body could affect the UK housing market dramatically [Image: Owen Humphreys/PA]

A former chief land registrar said a loss of confidence in the the body could affect the UK housing market dramatically [Image: Owen Humphreys/PA]

It is now abundantly clear that selling the Land Registry will not only deprive the UK Treasury of more than £100 million a year, but it will facilitate fraud and other financial crimes including money-laundering.

If the Conservative Government insists on continuing with the sale, one can only conclude that aiding financial crime is the intention.

One would have thought that the (current) prime minister, who gained the nickname ‘Dodgy Dave’ after his association with an offshore banking scheme became public knowledge, would want to stay away from such accusations from now on.

More than 60 MPs have signed a letter calling on the government to abandon controversial plans to privatise the Land Registry.

The letter, written by the Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, and seen by the Guardian, warns that selling off the 150-year-old agency will make it easier for criminals to use the UK property market to launder cash.

The Green party leadership contender Caroline Lucas, Liberal Democrat Tom Brake and shadow cabinet members Ian Murray and Louise Haigh are among the signatories to the letter, which urges the government to reconsider its plans.

The government has pledged to make offshore ownership of UK properties more transparent, with David Cameron last year declaring that “London is not a place to stash your dodgy cash”, and reiterating the promise at a recent anti-corruption summit.

The Guardian recently found that more than 40,000 properties in London are registered in the names of offshore companies, whose ultimate ownership is often unclear.

Source: Scores of MPs demand Land Registry privatisation be called off | Politics | The Guardian


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8 thoughts on “Dozens of MPs, from many parties, call for Land Registry sale to be halted

  1. casalealex

    The Land Registry belongs to you, me and all of us. It is a fantastic, efficient and innovative public service. It also happens to make millions in profit for the public purse every year, and our new research shows that it doesn’t make economic sense to sell it off.

    But that’s exactly what George Osborne plans to do.

    The government’s consultation has ended!
    Economics commentator Aditya Chakrabortty wrote a fantastic piece in the Guardian today about our new research: ‘Austerity is far more than just cuts. It’s about privatising everything we own’. As he says in the article ‘privatisation is a short-term gain for a long-term loss’. He also told us that many of his readers hadn’t even realised the Land Registry was up for grabs.

    In the last couple of days, the Competition and Markets Authority and the News Media Association have gone public with their criticisms of the government’s plans. Like us, they think that privatisation would be risky and damaging.
    In our new report we quoted Denise Watts, a member of the public and home owner who said:

    “I worry about the security of the whole thing…We know from experience with other institutions that have been sold off by the government that our lives become more difficult because they’ve changed. The other thing that I really worry about is the fact that this is selling off the family silver, if you like. I feel very much that the information about the ownership of properties, it’s our information, it belongs to us. I don’t think that it’s the government’s even to sell.’

    Last time the government tried to privatise the Land Registry, they were forced to back down. Let’s show them that the Land Registry belongs to us – and we’ll make sure it stays that way.

    We can’t let Osborne get away with this one.

    Cat, Matt and the We Own It team

      1. Joan Edington

        Presumably it is their own words, quoting a member of the public at one point, since We Own It are a group who campaign against privatisation of public services.

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