Land Registry privatisation will cost North East 400 jobs and £10million, claims Durham MP

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PROPOSALS to privatise the Land Registry could lead to the loss of 400 jobs and leave a £10million hole in the North- East economy.

Durham City’s Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods has said plans to shut the Land Registry office in Durham could mean the loss of the region’s only base for the organisation.

Ministers have been urged to rethink plans to sell or part-privatise the Land Registry, which is responsible for recording the ownership of land and property and is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Government began a consultation last month to assess whether it should become state-owned which means it could then be sold or managed by the private sector.

It resulted in the suggestion it could be a business the Government owns, jointly owns with a private sector organisation or owned by the state but buy in services from the private sector rather than provide them directly.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, has warned a change could reduce public confidence in the register. Ms Blackman-Woods has also said the move could damage the local economy and has spoke about the matter in the House of Commons, stressing it gives the North East many good quality jobs.

Durham has had a Land Registry office for nearly 50 years and it is believed to contribute £10million to the local economy. Business minister Michael Fallon has said the registry has to modernise and become a leader in digitising land and property services and manage and reuse land and property data.