privatisation of land registry

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Prices soar 20% in property hotspots as average home in London sells for £400,000

29 March 2014 04:38:00 News | Mail Online

Figures published by the Land Registry show prices in one borough, Hackney, rose 21.5% to £528,737 in just a year prompting fears of a new boom.

Vice All News Time29 March 2014 04:38:00


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Prices show two-paced housing market

28 March 2014 13:48:37 BBC News - UK

More evidence of a two-paced housing market has been revealed in property price figures from the Land Registry, with prices in London up 14%.

Vice All News Time28 March 2014 13:48:37


Newlywed Euan Blair's new £3.6million six-bedroom marital home 'is joint owned with Mrs Blair... his MOTHER'

08 February 2014 16:06:46 News | Mail Online

Land Registry documents show that the town house in Marylebone, London is owned by Cherie and Euan Blair, but there is no mention of his wife Suzanne, on the deeds.

Vice All News Time08 February 2014 16:06:46


Home sales rise 'fastest for decade'

08 February 2014 09:48:29 BBC News - UK

Figures taken from the Land Registry show that house sales in England and Wales have grown at their fastest rate for a decade.

Vice All News Time08 February 2014 09:48:29


Land Registry tipped for part-privatisation

23 January 2014 18:21:46 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

Government kicks off consultation process to decide if part of the 150-year-old body should be spun-off        

Vice All News Time23 January 2014 18:21:46


Land Registry poised for state sell-off

23 January 2014 14:51:03 UK Homepage

The 150-year-old institution tracking UK property and land deals enters an eight-week consultation as part of wider programme of possible sell-offs

Vice All News Time23 January 2014 14:51:03


Land Registry may be next state sell-off

23 January 2014 13:55:53 Financials

The 150-year-old institution tracking UK property and land deals enters an eight-week consultation as part of wider programme of possible sell-offs

Vice Finance Time23 January 2014 13:55:53


Land Registry: House prices rise 3.2% in a year

31 December 2013 15:56:18 News | Mail Online

The data found that property values swelled by more than 10 per cent annually in London, but they fell by 1.6 per cent in the North East.

Vice All News Time31 December 2013 15:56:18


No more letters to Santa? How kids are using online gift registries to share Christmas wish lists with friends and family

19 December 2013 03:50:06 News | Mail Online

Christmas gift registries for children have quickly begun replacing your average hand-written note to Santa Claus.

Vice All News Time19 December 2013 03:50:06


Watchdog bans rogue Land Registry and DVLA adverts

13 November 2013 13:04:10 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

Two more adverts have been banned as the ASA continues its battle with websites that give the impression of being "official".        

Vice Finance Time13 November 2013 13:04:10


Watchdog bans rogue Land Registry and DVLA adverts

13 November 2013 12:58:49 UK headlines

Two more adverts have been banned as the ASA continues its battle with websites that give the impression of being "official".        

Vice All News Time13 November 2013 12:58:49


Moment sham marriage suspect is led to police van just minutes before he was due to wed Czech woman at registry office

01 November 2013 13:42:50 News | Mail Online

The 27-year-old Pakistani man was about to wed a 25-year-old woman at a registry office in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Vice All News Time01 November 2013 13:42:50


Land Registry: Average house price hits £167,063

28 October 2013 15:06:37 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

London's gains dwarf other regions, but prices are now rising everywhere except Wales        

Vice Finance Time28 October 2013 15:06:37


Groom sparked bomb scare to avoid telling fiancee he had failed to book registry office

04 October 2013 11:56:36 News | Mail Online

Neil McArdle, (pictured) from Kirkby, Merseyside, sparked a bomb scare at St George's Hall, Liverpool, to avoid telling his wife-to-be that he'd failed to book the registry office.

Vice All News Time04 October 2013 11:56:36


Church of England fracking? 'Land grab' by church fuels fears of controversial fracking

16 August 2013 10:53:04 News | Mail Online

Residents across the country have received letters from the Land Registry, informing them the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property.

Vice All News Time16 August 2013 10:53:04


'Land grab' by Church of England fuels fears of controversial fracking

16 August 2013 04:51:20 News | Mail Online

Residents across the country have received letters from the Land Registry, informing them the Church is seeking to register the mineral rights to the earth beneath their property.

Vice All News Time16 August 2013 04:51:20


London house prices still surging

26 July 2013 15:04:32 BBC News - UK

House prices in London are continuing to outstrip those in other parts of the country, according to the latest Land Registry figures.

Vice All News Time26 July 2013 15:04:32


Royal Mail privatisation: don't tell Sid – warn him | Editorial

11 July 2013 00:25:03 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

As the details of the privatisation become clearer, the reasons for its sale recede further into fuzziness A household name put up for sale. An age-old public utility to be floated on the stock market. Ordinary punters to be allowed a piece of the action. Many tens of thousands of jobs to be affected. Throughout Vince Cable's outlining on Wednesday of his plans to privatise Royal Mail there was a tang of the old Thatcherism. The business secretary acknowledged as much in parliament in his adroit references to "the biggest employee share scheme for nearly 30 years". But for all the hints at a share-owning democracy, this was not the Iron Lady stageshow of old. The cast has changed radically for a start: no Conservative government with a solid majority, but a coalition that may be prised apart after the next election. Accordingly, details of the flotation were presented by a Lib Dem, whose party went into the last general election pledging to sell only a minority stake in the service. Second, there is unlikely to be that vaunted "Tell Sid" campaign to get the public buying shares. Finally, just as John Major's boneheaded sale of the railways always appeared to be a privatisation too far, so the flogging of Britain's mail-delivery services has already proved to be the opposite of plucking low-hanging fruit. As the details of the Royal Mail privatisation become clearer, the reasons for its sale recede further into fuzziness. Is it a financial basket case – the grim picture painted by Richard Hooper's reviews ? Actually, no. As the government's own document stated on Wednesday: "Royal Mail's results for the financial year ending 31 March 2013 were strong." Indeed: operating profit grew from £152m the year before to £403m. That makes a margin of 4.4%, which isn't bad for a utility mandated to deliver post from Land's End to John O'Groats six days a week at one uniform price. Is the company broken-backed with financial obligations that should be passed on to suckers in the private sector? Not since the government took over the £40bn pension liabilities, lumbering taxpayers with a £12bn deficit but letting investors off the hook. Mr Cable trotted out the line about how privatisation would bring in more capital to the business: but the sovereign state can get credit more cheaply than any private borrower. The most likely scenario resulting from a privatisation of the postal-delivery service is surely this: sale of part or even all of the Royal Mail will be effected by next March; ministers will take a price multiples lower than the one they could have got, even while Goldman Sachs, Barclays and all the other banks involved in the flotation will walk away with fat fees. Over the longer run, it's a fair bet that the new managers of a privately held Royal Mail, still keeping to the universal service obligation, will drive up their margins by forcing lay-offs and worse conditions on 150,000 employees, many already on modest wages. Further out still, the universal postal service will surely come under pressure. Operators will lobby to replace the commitment to uniform prices for six days a week delivery with the looser obligation under European law for a merely "affordable" service five days a week. Advocates of privatisation normally hold up telecoms as their exhibit A. That is indeed a remarkable story, but it is largely one of technological advance. In other respects, such as the rollout of broadband to rural areas, the record is much more mixed, as last week's report from the National Audit Office reminds us. But a better comparator for postal privatisation is surely rail: another service that is a natural monopoly but which was instead divided between a bunch of operators paying track access fees. As research from Manchester University's Centre for Research on Socio-Culture Change shows, the result is an industry reliant on tens of billions in hidden subsidies from the taxpayer, and where private investment has been "negligible". At worst, the coalition threatens to replicate that abysmal experience: to thrust another bit of the public realm into private hands at a bargain price. And as rail demonstrates, once it's gone, it's gone. Royal Mail Postal service Privatisation Economic policy Editorial guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time11 July 2013 00:25:03


Commission backs Lloyds as first privatisation

19 June 2013 10:53:14 BBC News - UK

Commission says Lloyds ready for privatisation

Vice All News Time19 June 2013 10:53:14


David Cameron faces battle at G8 over anti-corruption deal for firms

08 June 2013 22:26:21 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

With fierce opposition from some members of economic summit, getting an agreement to stop tax evasion is now looking unlikely David Cameron's hopes of securing at the G8 summit next week a major anti-corruption agreement that would force companies to reveal who really owns them is hanging by a thread, amid fierce opposition from both the Russian and Canadian governments, as well as from many members of the US Congress. The prime minister believes new rules to make company ownership transparent are crucial, and has made it a key goal of UK diplomacy as he prepares to chair the gathering of world leaders which begins a week tomorrow. However, the Observer understands that goal is now in jeopardy, opening up the possibility that there will be no deal endorsed by all parties, a potentially embarrassing result for the UK as summit chair. Companies that hide their real owners in inscrutable, anonymous trusts and shell companies in tax havens are responsible for moving hundreds of billions of pounds a year around the world, much of which is plundered from developing countries. Often the trusts are used for tax evasion, to pay kickbacks to corrupt officials, to facilitate organised crime and to fund international terrorism. In 2011, the World Bank analysed 213 grand corruption cases over the past 20 years. In 150, a trust or shell company was used. Many of the trusts used to disguise ownership are based in British overseas territories, such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands. A recent Africa Progress Panel report revealed that between 2010 and 2012, Congo lost at least $1.36bn from the sale of under-priced mining assets, in deals involving shell companies registered in British overseas territories. In a determined attempt to tackle the problem before the G8 summit, the prime minister has been strongly promoting a plan that would make companies legally responsible for keeping a register of their real owners and shareholders. Under one scenario proposed by Cameron, the register would be made public. Another option would be for it to be available only to the relevant authorities. Outlining his vision at Davos earlier this year, Cameron declared: "We're going to push for more transparency on who owns companies; on who's buying up land and for what purpose; on how governments spend money; on how gas, oil and mining companies operate; and on who is hiding stolen assets and how we recover and return them." Writing in today's Observer , the business secretary, Vince Cable, says the summit offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to world leaders to show leadership by reforming what he calls a "dysfunctional international tax system". But he warns that there are limits because of the complexity of the issues and complicated international rules. In April, Cameron wrote to Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, saying that he hoped G8 countries would, by this month, have "set out concrete steps" revealing how they would compel companies to disclose their true owners through "public company registries". Cameron nuanced his position weeks later when he wrote to Britain's tax havens, saying they should provide "fully resourced and properly managed centralised registries that are freely available to law enforcement and tax collectors, and contain full and accurate details on the true ownership and control of every company". His proposals were greeted enthusiastically by anti-corruption groups and aid charities. They point out that Iran has avoided sanctions on its nuclear programme by using shell companies, while Russian gangsters have used similar vehicles in Cyprus to launder millions of euros stolen when its state assets were privatised. Shell companies registered in Britain were also used to export arms to the conflict in South Sudan. However, aid agencies now fear Cameron's plan risks being derailed by other G8 members. Russia is resisting because of its extensive interests in Cyprus. Canada is also opposed, while many US politicians are against the plan because it would have an impact on Delaware, the low-tax, light regulation US state where some 200,000 companies are registered. The impasse is considered so serious by Number 10 that Cameron is to discuss the issue with President Obama in a transatlantic phone call later this week. It is understood UK diplomats have been instructed to continue pushing the proposal right up to the summit, even if it risks the UK failing to get a deal. "We are concerned not all countries are going to sign up," said Robert Palmer of campaign group Global Witness. "This is about the world's biggest economies saying 'we are going to get our houses in order'." It is likely that if any deal is reached it will be a patchwork solution, with some G8 members agreeing to a public register, some to a private, and others resisting entirely. The move would be seen in some diplomatic circles as a failure. A source at the Treasury, which is leading on the plan, acknowledged that the UK could end up with little to show for its efforts: "There is a danger that if we push too hard the others will recoil and we'll come away with nothing." Campaigners likened the UK's push for transparency to a "game of chicken" and urged Cameron not to blink. "If the PM secures a deal with all G8 countries committing to public registries, it will be transformative," said Sol Oyuela, a spokeswoman for IF: "It would be the biggest assault on tax havens, corruption and money laundering in recent history." David Cameron G8 Global economy World Bank Russia Europe Canada Americas Economics Cayman Islands Vince Cable Jamie Doward guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Vice All News Time08 June 2013 22:26:21


Privatisation: blood money | Editorial

13 May 2013 01:04:07 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

Donating for no reward provides a warm glow, but pay for it – or profit from it – and that glow disappears Fulfilling his constitutional duty to puncture the pomp of Queen's speech day, Dennis Skinner last week responded to Black Rod's command to attend to Her Majesty, with the cat call " Royal Mail for sale. Queen's head privatised ". The pending disposal was once unthinkable. Britain's most determined denationaliser, Margaret Thatcher, once said that the "royal" tag made her hesitate to order a mail sale. Braver hearts on the left imagine that the financial crisis is drawing a line under the post-1970s neoliberal agenda , just as the oil shocks did for the Keynesian-corporatist consensus that went before. But the privatisation element of that agenda is rolling forward as if nothing has changed. In the US, Barack Obama's budget proposal floated the sale of the Tennessee Valley Authority, a symbolic utility since Roosevelt signed it into law as part of the battle against a previous depression. In the UK, the few remaining public industries are overseen by the so-called Shareholder Executive , a team of officials disproportionately recruited from the City to work to a commercial remit. The new boss, Mark Russell , formerly of KPMG, does not disguise his desire to put himself out of a job by selling everything off: "We don't believe government makes a particularly good shareholder." The Land Registry, the Met Office and Ordnance Survey are all in his sights, while – despite strong opposition registered in the polls – the chancellor seems bent on an early sale of the public's forcibly aquired stake in RBS, even if this incurs a loss. But one pending sale particularly chills the blood. Plasma Resources UK was set up after a bout of deregulation in another sector, cattle feed, gave rise to mad cows and variant CJD, and so meant certain blood-based products could no longer be safely sourced from British donors. The outfit buys American plasma, and supplies it to the NHS as well as exploiting various derivatives globally. Lucy Reynolds of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine writes of infection risks, including HIV and hepatitis, that the profit motive could encourage plasma collectors to run. Sufficiently smart regulation might over-ride these dangers – so long as it can be devised. Blood donation is a classic case study for behavioural economists. Donating for no reward provides a warm glow, but pay for it – or profit from it – and that glow disappears. Donations from the healthiest can dry up, while blood flows in from cash-strapped addicts and others. Plasma Resources' sale does not directly subvert British donations, but it could retard the World Health Organisation-endorsed objective of national self sufficiency, a goal that gives the best chance of keeping blood and money apart. It is the kind of point Whitehall's "nudge unit" might have made – had it not recently been put on the market . Privatisation Economic policy guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice All News Time13 May 2013 01:04:07


Royal Mail privatisation is being delivered behind closed doors | Mario Dunn

08 May 2013 19:07:57 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

It is strange that with the sale of the postal service just months away the public has no idea of the details of the sell-off Dennis Skinner's annual heckle at the state opening of parliament this year was a rallying cry for all those who worry about the little-discussed but imminent sale of Royal Mail. Bolsover's finest chose the occasion of the Queen's speech to highlight plans to privatise her head. That particular aspect is perhaps symbolic but the wider impact of this privatisation will be anything but. Even his nemesis Lady Thatcher was loth to sell what many see as part of the fabric of our society and servant to our communities. Desperate to reassure the public that selling this successful public-sector enterprise will be in our interest, the government, in the shape of Michael Fallon, the industry minister, has used all the powers he has at his disposal to " protect " what is called the universal service provided by Royal Mail. But those protections are not enough and will certainly not endure. Despite the promises, it will not be possible to guarantee a privately owned business will want to (or be able to) maintain six-days-a-week collection and delivery services throughout the country. With the cost of most stamps now deregulated, the only restraint on rocketing prices is the vague argument of "market forces". One just needs to look at their energy bill to see how the impact of those market forces is working in that regard. All of this adds up to a major concern for those who value or indeed rely upon the services provided by Royal Mail. As with many public services, those who most need the daily visit from the postie are the most likely to suffer from its disappearance. Older people are the first to stop sending letters and cards when stamp prices rise. Small businesses are very sensitive to price rises for packets and parcels. Yet for the economics of this sale to work, the new owner will need to cut costs ruthlessly, particularly lossmaking rural services. While that might not be an immediate prospect, it will certainly be the long-term objective and something the owner will be able to do with little or any restraint. The Save Our Royal Mail campaign has been established to highlight the threats posed by this stealthy privatisation. In the past, governments have been keen to trumpet the disposal of state assets. Telling Sid was perhaps a high point in that regard. With Royal Mail privatisation the opposite is true. The government seems very shy, preferring to use its consultants and bankers to sell the business to institutional investors behind closed doors. I do not recall the prime minister once defending the policy. Even so, it is strange that with a sale only a few months away we still have no idea how much of Royal Mail will be sold – and perhaps more importantly – to whom. We know that private equity investors are running the rule over the books. This is particularly concerning, as their business model is well established: buy company, strip costs, maximise value, sell on. To make that prospect more likely the legislation passed to allow this sale makes the taxpayer responsible for any lossmaking rump that might be left behind once the value of the business has been stripped out. Some argue that letters are a product of a bygone age, rendered obsolete by electronic communications. While letter volumes are in decline, the services provided by Royal Mail are as vital as they have always been. What enables Royal Mail to deliver from Land's End to John o' Groats for a single, affordable price is the huge growth in parcel and packet delivery, another by-product of e-commerce. All of that is now under threat. The only upside is perhaps in the future we might be able to get Dennis Skinner's head on a first class stamp. Royal Mail Privatisation Postal service Economic policy Queen's speech Mario Dunn guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds        

Vice Bussines Time08 May 2013 19:07:57


House prices in London are rising by £90 a day but flat or falling in EVERY OTHER major UK city

30 April 2013 12:51:58 News | Mail Online

In London, the average home now costs £374,568, having soared by 9.6 per cent over the last year - an all-time high - according to the Land Registry.

Vice All News Time30 April 2013 12:51:58


House prices are rising by £90 a day but flat or falling in EVERY OTHER major UK city

30 April 2013 03:34:06 News | Mail Online

In London, the average home now costs £374,568, having soared by 9.6 per cent over the last year - an all-time high - according to the Land Registry.

Vice All News Time30 April 2013 03:34:06


Postal privatisation and the zero-hour workers' nightmare | Paul Mills

29 April 2013 18:46:34 Politics news, UK and world political comment and analysis | theguardian.com

I saw firsthand how introducing competition into the Royal Mail will create an army of low-paid workers in precarious jobs "TNT scum! How dare you set foot in the Post Office? Get the fuck out!" This was the hostile introduction I got on my first day working undercover as a TNT postman for Channel 4's Dispatches investigation, Secrets of Your Missing Mail . A weathered old-time postman was visibly irate when he saw me in the distinctive orange uniform of Royal Mail's rivals TNT, venturing on to his patch as I delivered a letter to a Central London Post Office . While this postie had picked the wrong person to do battle with – after all, I was just another guy trying to do a job – I soon understood his angry reaction to the imminent privatisation of the Royal Mail. Apart from the obvious threat to universal service, privatisation represents a direct affront to the working conditions that have been so hard-fought for by workers and unions over the years. Last week marked the formal announcement by Michael Fallon, the minister for business and enterprise, that the Royal Mail will be sold off by next April, setting the ball rolling on what is set to be the biggest privatisation for over 20 years. This follows the deregulation of postal services in 2006, which allowed companies like TNT Post to win contracts to deliver mail from the supplier all the way to the letterbox on behalf of private and public sector organisations. TNT Post, who I worked for over the course of a month, are in a pilot phase in West and Central London this year, providing competition to deliver letters directly to the doorstep for the first time in Royal Mail's 360-year history. If successful, TNT will expand its operation across other parts of the country in the next five years, aiming to employ up to 20,000 postal workers. So what does this mean for the 134,000 postal workers represented by the Communication Workers Union? And what can these changes in the postal industry teach us about how ongoing privatisations affect workers? As postal worker and blogger Roy Mayall points out, private companies are allowed to bid for these contracts with no obligation to meet the pay and conditions that Royal Mail workers have fought for over the years. During the time I spent as a TNT postman, I was able to see firsthand the ways in which widespread privatisations are leading to regressions in working conditions, with private companies exploiting the large numbers of desperate young unemployed to offer employment packages far inferior to their Royal Mail counterparts. I was one of a growing number of workers on what is known as a "zero-hour contract". This term is used to describe an extremely precarious form of contract, in which workers are not guaranteed any hours of work. The number of major employers hiring on zero-hour contracts has risen from 11% in 2004 to 23% in 2011 , with unions blaming government privatisation of services for this rise, denouncing these contracts as a throwback to the Victorian era. Denied any fixed hours of employment, I was forced to hustle for my next day's work on an almost daily basis. Sometimes I took a gamble to come in as a "relief worker", arriving at the depot at 7.30am in the hope that someone would have dropped out so I could cover their rounds. While zero-hour contracts prove convenient for students and part-timers, the reality is that these groups make up the minority of the workforce. For most workers, it proved to be a myth that zero-hour contracts translate to greater flexibility; I was advised by several colleagues that I should be ready and available for work whenever called upon if I hoped to get more regular shifts. It became clear that the balance of power in these arrangements is heavily weighted in the favour of employers. Indeed, bosses are inclined to over-hire staff to ensure that they will always have enough staff for any given shift, which can leave workers without enough hours to make a sufficient living: on £7.10p/h (with London weighting), it is nearly impossible to make ends meet if you miss out on shifts for just a day or two. Workers are left walking this financial tightrope on a week-by-week basis. This kind of "underemployment" is particularly insidious considering the fact that many of those recruited come off benefits upon gaining employment, only to earn an insufficient salary to adequately live on once they are actually in work. Official statistics of course show these people as being employed, despite the fact that in reality they are denied regular hours. This leaves workers obliged to navigate an uncomfortable no-man's land between secure work and benefits. Furthermore, these kinds of contracts leave workers almost entirely at the whim of their bosses. With the decision as to who gets given shifts ultimately resting with the supervisor, workers are left vulnerable to favouritism. Employers do not need to find a reason for dismissal; they can simply phase out shifts until employees find themselves with little or no work. A growing private sector workforce is being forced to live with no guaranteed level of earnings, unpredictable schedules, weak employment rights and precarious conditions. In light of this, I can't say I blame the Royal Mail postman for losing his rag with me. Postal service Royal Mail Trade unions Post Office Privatisation Economic policy Paul Mills guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds  

Vice Bussines Time29 April 2013 18:46:34


London fuels house price divide

29 April 2013 14:25:01 BBC News - UK

The contrast between rising house prices in London and falling prices elsewhere continues to grow, figures from the Land Registry show.

Vice All News Time29 April 2013 14:25:01


Sell-offs eyed to help cut public debt

21 April 2013 21:41:30 UK Homepage

New Shareholder Executive head says more privatisations could follow Royal Mail, citing Companies House, Land Registry, Met Office and Ordnance Survey

Vice All News Time21 April 2013 21:41:30