Selling off the operations of Land Registry will cost the public purse more than it raises, according to analysis published by an anti-privatisation campaign group today.
A report by the group We Own It examines how future income will outweigh the immediate cash returns from selling off a range of public assets.
According to the report, the government expects to raise £1.225bn from a joint venture with a commercial operator for Land Registry. However on average over the past 10 years Land Registry has generated pre-dividend surpluses of £47 million. In 2014-15 it paid a normal dividend of £19.1m as well as a special dividend of £100m from its cash reserves.
According to calculations by the New Economics Foundation thinktank, lost income from Land Registry outweigh the sale in 25 years (see graph). In the case of Royal Mail, sold off in 2013 and 2015, the crossover point is in 10 years.
Duncan McCann, researcher at the New Economics Foundation said: 'Politicians often work on a short timeframe. This report shows just how short. These valuable assets can bring in long-term sustainable income. They are working well, have successfully modernised and our economy can benefit most from them staying in public hands.’
At least one response to the current consultation on the sale makes a similar point. Earlier this month the Conveyancing Association proposed increasing the Land Registry registration fee and reversing a halving of fees for electronic registrations as a more effective means of paying off debt.
Last week's Queen's speech revealed that privatisation would be enabled under a Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.
The consultation closes on Thursday, when a petition signed by some 225,000 opponents of a sale will be handed in to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.