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Land Registry to slash jobs and be sold off to private sector?

According to today's Times newspaper, the Land Registry will today announce a further 1500 job cuts (this is in addition to the 1000 voluntary redundancies and transfers to other department effected earlier this year) plus the closure of at least a quarter of its regional offices, in preparation for a possible sale to the private sector next year, as part of the UK government's planned 'car boot-sale' disposal of public assets. There will also be a 12 week consultation period, ending in January, plus possible further cuts as the agency out-sources non-core functions.

The Land Registry reported a £130 million loss last year although its chief executive received a pay rise of 13% to circa £175-£180,000. Along with the decline in revenues from property transactions, The Times says the failure of the Land Registry's 'multi-million pound' Chain Matrix e-conveyancing system also contributed to its financial problems.

Readers will recall that it seems like only a year ago – hang about it was only a year ago – that the Land Registry was entering into competition with private sector suppliers of SDLT services and outlining plans for an expansion of the Chain Matrix to encompass the entire conveyancing process. So, who will buy it? Apart from the usual suspects (LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters) the only other name that springs to mind is MDA (MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates) who are already a major player in the UK property search and NLIS hub/channels sector.