Nia Griffith MP has called threats to privatise the Land Registry nothing short of daylight robbery. Speaking before a parliamentary debate today, in which concerned MPs will try and influence government Ministers to drop plans which could pave the way for the privatisation of the Land Registry, Nia Griffith MP said,
“Privatising the Land Registry would be nothing short of daylight robbery, robbing the taxpayer of millions of pounds. The Land Registry currently brings in nearly £100 million into the Treasury in profits each year, so it is madness to steal this from the Treasury and stuff it into the pockets of private contractors, who would probably then add insult to injury by hiking the fees and ripping off the public. And who’s to say that this Tory-LibDem Government wouldn’t be wilfully incompetent and sell off the Land Registry at a bargain basement price, as they did with the Royal Mail, depriving the public purse of the true value of this asset?
And that’s before we come to the issue of trust: currently the Land Registry has a customer satisfaction rating of 98%, and people trust the Land Registry because they know it is impartial as only a government body can be. How could you possibly guarantee that there would not be conflicts of interest if it were a private company? Would a private company keep offices in Swansea or would it be outsourced to some far-flung place where they cannot tell one Welsh name from another? Then there is the issue of data protection: I am advised that there would be nothing in law to prevent a private company selling on personal data to buyers who want the information.
We must resist any attempt to hive off the Land Registry into a “Government–owned company” which could pave the way for privatisation.”