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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2014

Land Registry threatened with sell-off

Elenor Haven, PCS national executive committee, personal capacity

The Land Registry has been a part of the UK civil service since 1862. However, a consultation currently underway threatens to remove the vast majority of it from the public sector.

All but a small regulatory body would be separated out, leaving it ripe for sell off. It opens the door for a weakening of staff protection and threats to pay, jobs and terms and conditions.

Any privatisation of the Land Registry threatens to undermine confidence in the integrity of the Land Register, which underpins the housing market in England and Wales. The potential for fraud is increased when the profit motive is involved.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has said: "There is absolutely no evidence that this would improve services at what is a well-respected and trusted 150-year-old institution, and senior managers have so far failed to make a coherent case.

"Any perceived benefits in taking what is inevitably the first step towards privatising the Land Registry are overwhelmingly outweighed by the huge risks involved."

PCS Land Registry vice-president, Dave Lunn, said: "Any move away from the Land Registry's public service status could make it easier to cut terms and conditions, close offices and cut jobs... we are also concerned about the security of the data we hold about property ownership, with fraud more likely.

"This is all a part of this government's ideological attack on public services, punishing public sector workers and the ordinary people that we serve, while preparing a vital national asset for sell off to their mates in the City.

"We would urge the public to respond to the public consultation demanding that the Land Registry retains its public service status to best safeguard the information we hold on your property and your mortgage."

PCS Land Registry Group is lodging our own response to the consultation and are now considering our campaigning response.

The Land Registry is a public service and should be retained in the public sector with jobs, pensions and terms and conditions protected. No to privatisation of the Land Registry.

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In The Socialist 29 January 2014:


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