Andre Lloyd, Managing Director of Search Acumen, says the government’s reported plan to abandon its initial decision to privatize Land Registry is laudable and will serve the common interest.
Lloyd believes the conclusion to jettison the planned sell off of the self-financing Land Registry tallies with public opinion and the position of the property industry that the proposed privatization defies economic sense.
The Search Acumen CEO told Property Reporter that the government’s rumored decision to dump the proposed privatization “will be both a victory for common sense and a vindication of the property industry’s spirited campaign against the proposal over the past twelve months”.
Lloyd is however cautiously optimistic as there has not yet been any official government policy announcement in this regard. He says that the initially proposal to privatize Land Registry would hurt businesses like Search Acumen as well as pose a real threat to freedom of data. Lloyd wants property professionals to continue to pressure the government against the proposal and convince more and more MPs that it is not just bad for the industry, but every landlord and aspiring property owner.
The British government has abandoned plans to privatize the UK Land Registry that has recorded ownership of property in the country for more than 150 years after a change of leadership at the ministry in charge, according to a government source.
Established in 1862, the Land Registry records accurate data for about 24 million property titles accessible by the public at the rate of £3 per search. In the last few years, it has modernized its record keeping and commercialized data.
As a result, astute property entrepreneurs and innovators like Search Acumen have keyed into the potentials of the ‘Big Data’ to create greater efficiency and ease of transactions in the industry.
But last year alone, the Land Registry chalked almost £261m in financing cost – although it also recorded an income generation of £297m for government.
Last November, former finance minister George Osborne announced plans to sell off the record as part of a £5b government privatizations plan in the Neighborhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill to be debated in parliament. However, government sources say new ministers under Prime Minister Theresa May, who were mandated to review the bill where not favorably disposed to the proposal and have therefore decided to delay the process.
The sale of the Land Registry was expected to be included in the Neighborhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which will go before parliament on Wednesday evening. But sources close to the government confirmed it has decided to delay the process.
Proponents of the privation had argued that Land Registry has over become outmoded, irrelevant and inefficient. But anti-privatizations campaigners like Lloyd insist Land Registry have recorded great strides in recent times; particularly with its commercialization of data which they say in private hands will be unfairly exploited to the detriment of the common good.
“Land Registry is committed to going further and releasing more of its data sets in the near future, so why privatize and jeopardise all of this progress?” Lloyd says, adding that privatizations of Land Registry in the aftermath of Brexit will compound the current housing crisis.