Ministers have cancelled plans to turn the bulk of Land Registry into a stand-alone company in the run-up to privatisation, according to newspaper reports at the weekend.
Proposals to create a ‘service delivery company’ appeared in a consultation document published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in January.
While the department has yet to publish a response to the consultation, an announcement in last month’s Queen’s Speech of amendments to the Land Registration Act had led to widespread speculation that the plans would go ahead.
However, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday that the business secretary, Vince Cable (pictured), had cancelled the sell-off as ‘just too complicated’. Staff protests were also an issue. According to the report, the department expected to raise some £1.2bn from a partial sell-off.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills this morning declined to confirm or deny the report. A spokesperson said: 'We have carried out a public consultation on the introduction of a Land Registry service delivery company, which looked at a range of options - including the status quo. We will publish the government response shortly.'
The PCS trade union, which had strongly opposed privatisation, said: 'We want the Land Registry to work with us on our proposals to strengthen the agency in future, but serious questions must be asked of senior officials and ministers who tried to push through what would have been a very damaging and totally unnecessary sell-off.'