Land Registry and other UK asset sales … who steals our golden goose?

UK Asset sales

who stole the gooseSo it’s true: short-term issues drive out the long and that includes asset sales. Of course, that’s no guarantee of good or honest decision making.

Okay, Okay, the Government is in a fix – austerity isn’t working. So they’re flogging (selling) our national assets to the private sector — a virtual guarantee of profitability to the buyer and a serious risk of disbenefit to the public. In a recent post: If the Panama Hat Fits … Don’t Sell the Land Registry I express my concerns.

Are you sure Austerity isn’t working?

What if Austerity-forcing-asset-sales is the Government’s strategy and working perfectly? Imagine an intention to transfer as many publicly owned assets, as possible, to the private sector for long-term milking. How so? you may ask. Have a read of this The Establishment: And How They Get Away with It. It’s a thoughtful eye-opener.

As we’ve known for hundreds of years:

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.
English Folk Poem (17 century)

I’m not alone with my fears, in fact, I’m in excellent company:

“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.”

Is the Land Registry sale a good thing? If so, for whom?

How does Parliament, home of fraudulent expense claims and admitted incompetence build our trust and confidence? Similarly, how do the Financial Sector, creators of The Crash and, for example, breakers of their profit taking deal on the UK Post Office sale, win our hearts and minds? Should we allow them to dispose of another valuable national asset?

Not in the UK Competition Watchdog’s  view

The UK Competition Watchdog, or to give them their Sunday-best title: The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) objected to the sale yesterday. A sub-headline in the Guardian summed up the situation: Planned privatisation would grant new owner monopoly on commercially valuable data with no incentive to improve access, warns CMA.

“Our view is that a privatised, vertically integrated Land Registry [the government’s preferred option] would be unlikely to deliver this outcome, despite the best efforts of oversight bodies to regulate prices and write safeguards into a contract or licence.”

When I occasionally write this type of blog, I’m thinking of my grandchildren and the legacy this early millennial greed and incompetence mean for their lives long after I’m gone.

© Mac Logan

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