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Assembly Member raises future of Land Registry with Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black confronted UK BusinessSecretary, Vince Cable at the weekend and asked him to abandon plans by his department to privatise the Land Registry, who currently employ 430 people in the Swansea area.

Mr. Cable was conducting a question and answer session at the Welsh Liberal Democrats Conference when Mr. Black raised the issue with him. The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which Vince Cable heads, is currently asking people to comment on whether the Land Registry should deliver its services at arms-length from Government through a privately owned company.

Mr. Black told the Secretary of State that the Land Registry is an important employer in the Swansea area that makes a surplus which is reinvested in its business. It is an innovative and successful government-run business with a good reputation for customer service.

""As a Trading Fund the Land Registry already has the flexibility to innovate and reinvest surpluses as is evidenced by its very successful sale and publication of quarterly house price information. It has also been for some time a flagship department in terms of customer service," said Mr. Black. "There is no evidence that the proposal to privatise it will improve on that?"

"The present set-up is independent, transparent and accountable. The proposed change is not. The Land Registry is a staff-orientated department with a good record in training and continuing professional development. A private company would not make that investment and as a result the quality of service will suffer."

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