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Watchdog snaps: Privatise the Land Registry? What a terrible idea!

CMA says it'll create a private monopoly

Government plans to flog off the Land Registry have been heavily criticised by the Competition and Markets Authority, which warns it will create a private monopoly hold over public data.

Proposals to privatise the body are in danger of creating a monopoly business with an incentive to abuse its position, said the CMA in its response to the government's consultation.

It said the creation of "NewCo" would pose "a significant risk" in providing value to the public and "may degrade the terms of access to its monopoly data in order to weaken competition to its own commercial products."

According to the CMA, accountancy firm Deloitte has valued public sector data at between £6.2bn and £7.2bn per year. It cited the example of app developers who have used Land Registry data to create property price apps.

"We believe that consumers and the economy would be best served by a model that promotes wide access to Land Registry data at cost-reflective prices, encouraging its use and commercial exploitation by a range of individuals and businesses," said the CMA.

It is not the only body to criticise the moves. According to a report by the New Economics Foundation on behalf of campaigning group We Own It today, the public will lose out financially from the sale.

A public consultation by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the Land Registry’s future will close on 26 May 2016. ®

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