Land Registry campaign
Today in Parliament I will be leading a debate opposing the Government's plans to privatise the Land Registry.
The Guardian has written a story on this ahead of the debate that you can read here: "Land Registry sell-off 'is short-term profiteering', warns Labour MP".
I have called for this debate because it is simply not in the public interest for the Government to sell off the family silver to turn a short-term profit. This is a purely political and ideological exercise that will bring about higher fees for consumers and undermine efforts to crackdown on tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.
It is a nonsense that this is being forced through by a Government apparently committed to tackling offshore tax evasion and corruption in this country. This privatisation is not only woefully misguided but it is plain wrong, and should be abandoned before the public interest is sacrificed in favour of a short-term profit.
The proceeds of any sale will be dwarfed by increased fees paid by ordinary people and businesses that use the Land Registry's services as well as the lost revenue that the Land Registry currently pays into the public purse in the form of a dividend that topped £100 million last year.
The Government has clearly stated its determination to clean up the UK property market, but the privatisation of the Land Registry would significantly reduce transparency and accountability at a time when our property market is being flooded with cash channelled through tax havens.
Criminals are using opaque shell companies to buy up properties in the UK in order to launder huge sums of money and hide the proceeds of crime, and this privatisation would be a huge step backwards in tackling the large-scale institutional corruption and tax avoidance brought to light by the Panama Papers.
It is a nonsense that this is being forced through by a Government apparently committed to tackling offshore tax evasion and corruption in this country. This privatisation is not only woefully misguided but it is plain wrong and should be abandoned before the public interest is sacrificed in favour of a short-term profit.
I will continue to lead calls for the Government to think again.