Privatisation of Land Registry

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Cable blocks £1bn sale of Land Registry in wake of botched Royal Mail deal

14 July 2014 19:48:01 Finance News - Business news from the UK and world

The Business Secretary has cancelled plans to sell the property body after being accused of selling Royal Mail too cheaply

Vice All News Time14 July 2014 19:48:01


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Cable blocks £1bn sale of Land Registry in wake of botched Royal Mail deal

14 July 2014 19:33:03 Politics News - UK Politics

The Business Secretary has cancelled plans to sell the property body after being accused of selling Royal Mail too cheaply

Vice All News Time14 July 2014 19:33:03


Plan to sell UK Land Registry ditched

14 July 2014 11:51:16 UK Homepage

Government-owned business, which controls records of all property sales in England and Wales, has been a privatisation candidate for past six years

Vice All News Time14 July 2014 11:51:16


Land Registry sees 6.7% house price rise

30 May 2014 14:32:44 UK Homepage

Growth recorded by official statistics is much lower than in other surveys, but London is still powering ahead the rest of the country

Vice All News Time30 May 2014 14:32:44


Land Registry sees 6.7% house price rise

30 May 2014 12:47:20 Financials

Growth recorded by official statistics much lower than in other surveys

Vice Finance Time30 May 2014 12:47:20


Land Registry staff stage strike

14 May 2014 01:22:24 BBC News - UK

More than 3,000 staff take part in a strike over government proposals to part-privatise the Land Registry.

Vice All News Time14 May 2014 01:22:24


Land Registry data shows Blackpool house prices up 3.1% in March

30 April 2014 16:01:16 News | Mail Online

House prices dipped slightly in March but were still up 5.6% in a year according to the latest monthly report from the Land Registry.

Vice All News Time30 April 2014 16:01:16


UK Land Registry records house price fall

30 April 2014 14:59:32 UK Homepage

While house prices in London remain in bubble territory, Land Registry data show signs the market may be softening in the rest of the country

Vice All News Time30 April 2014 14:59:32


UK Land Registry records house price fall

30 April 2014 13:09:10 Financials

While house prices in London remain in bubble territory, Land Registry data show signs the market may be softening in the rest of the country

Vice Finance Time30 April 2014 13:09:10


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


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


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


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


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


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