The decision that the Land Registry would remain in public ownership was originally announced in the Chancellor’s autumn statement in 2016.
Mirroring what happened when ministers tried to sell off the agency 2 years earlier, PCS worked with politicians and industry professionals, and more than 320,000 people signed an online 38 degrees petition started by solicitor James Ferguson to stop the plans.
Thousands of PCS members also wrote to their MPs urging them to oppose the plans and MPs from all parties spoke against the privatisation when it was debated in June 2016.
The massive amount of public pressure was acknowledged today in the government’s response, stating that over 27,000 responses (96%) were received from individuals.
When the previous chancellor, George Osborne, announced the consultation into privatising HM Land registry, it did not include an option for respondents to put forward a case for continued public ownership. In spite of this, it is clear from the consultation response that the vast majority echoed the PCS submission, insisting that Land Registry stay in public hands.
Many of the concerns raised by PCS are reflected in the government’s response, including that the integrity of the Register could only be maintained in the public sector, and that the Land Registry is both high performing and profitable and there was therefore no reason for such a change of status.
The union made it very clear that privatisation is incompatible with a secure and stable system of land registration. We have further made clear that the potential public service role of HM Land Registry in dealing with the housing crisis and planning of future land use requires an absolute commitment to state ownership.