Bid to sell Land Registry ditched

MP Gordon Marsden meeting PCS members
MP Gordon Marsden meeting PCS members
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Controversial plans to privatise the Land Registry which cast a cloud over hundreds of Lancashire jobs have been dropped.

The Government said amid the Autumn Statement announcements that the plan has been ditched in favour of developing it as a “digital-driven data registration business”.

The Government had mooted the plan last Easter just as Parliament went into recess, leaving MPs who wanted to debate it frustrated.

Many businesses which rely on the Registry records and people concerned with personal information were also against the move.

The news of the U-turn has been greeted with relief by the 240 staff at the Warton office and Blackpool South Labour MP Gordon Marsden who had campaigned with local trade unionists from the Public and Commercial Services Union against the privatisation.

Today he welcomed the confirmation describing it as “great news” for jobs on the Fylde Coast.

He said: “After a strong campaign nationally but also here locally, I am delighted the Government have seen sense and ditched their ill-thought plans to privatise the Land Registry.

“There was a real danger that many of these skilled jobs in the area were being put at risk, just for the sake of wanting to make a quick buck to prop up the Government’s failing debt targets.

“The Land Registry is a profit-making organisation so it would have been illogical for Government to be selling it off and lose us millions of pounds from the public purse.”

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond said: “Following consultation the government has decided that HM Land Registry should focus on becoming a more digital data-driven registration business, and to do this will remain in the public sector.”