Privatising the Land Registry: The Debate

On Thursday 30th June, Members of Parliament will examine whether the Land Registry should be privatised. This is an important issue, as the registry plays a vital role in property transactions.

Privatising the Land Registry

Image Credit

The discussion was scheduled by the Backbench Business Committee after a petition from the Labour MP for Tottenham, Mr David Lammy. Mr Lammy will open the debate and says that so far, one hundred MPs from eight parties have voiced support for his campaign.

In his motion to the committee requesting the debate, Mr Lammy pointed out the benefits of an independent Registry and said that in 19 of the past 20 years, the Registry has generated a surplus. In 2015 it returned £120 million to the public coffers.

Crime Cover

There are significant concerns that privatising the Registry will affect accountability and transparency in transactions involving property in the UK. It is thought this move may get in the way of serious attempts to prevent corruption and stop funds entering the UK via money-laundering or other criminal activities. It has been noted that some bids for the Registry have had links to offshore tax havens. The government is aware that property can be useful as a way of legitimising profits from illegal undertakings.

According to The Guardian, the competition watchdog has protested against the Registry plans, saying that putting this information into private hands could be problematic for businesses. The British Property Federation said changes to the registry could destabilise the property market, damage security of titles and make renewal of urban areas more difficult to achieve.

Growth and Reclamation

Renewal of urban areas sometimes requires land remediation to make the environment safe for habitation. Privatisation of the Registry could lead to shirking of responsibilities when it comes to cleaning up polluted areas.

When purchasing property, there are many issues buyers need to be aware of. Contamination could pose a serious health risk, so if any doubt about pollution issues, it is a good idea to consult an expert such as a specialist in land remediation (

The Backbench Business Committee meets once a week to look at subjects backbench MPs wish to debate, with the committee deciding how to use its Parliamentary time allocation. Its meetings are public and are also screened on Parliament TV.