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Land Registry

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 8 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his timetable is for the settlement of the pay award for 2007 for Land Registry staff; for what reasons the settlement has not yet been reached; what the timetable is for the 2008 settlement; and if he will make a statement. (175618)

Land Registry made a formal pay offer to the Unions on 21 December and is aiming to pay the award to staff in February 2008.

After the publication of the remit guidance preliminary meetings were held with the Unions to obtain their views on what Land Registry should request in its pay remit. The pay remit was initially submitted to the Treasury on 10 August 2007 and, after correspondence with Treasury officials, was resubmitted on 5 October 2007. Land Registry staff have been kept regularly informed of progress of the pay review. Clearance of the pay remit was received from the Treasury on 3 December 2007. Meetings were then held with the Unions on 6 December, 11 December and 19 December.

Until the 2007 pay review is settled, Land Registry will continue to apply the rules agreed for the 2006 pay settlement that ended on 31 May 2007.

Land Registry is not in a position to confirm the timetable for the 2008 pay award. However, the target settlement date remains 1 June 2008 and Land Registry will do its utmost to work with the Unions to reach a conclusion as close to 1 June as possible.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average cost to the Land Registry was of processing a land registry search for a domestic property in England for the purposes of a sale in 2006-07. (174019)

Land Registry is a trading fund and is required to recover the costs of its operation from fee income, together with a return on average capital employed, currently 3.5 per cent. In 2006-07 Land Registry dealt with 4.38 million official searches in England and Wales. It is not possible to distinguish whether these were on domestic or other types of properties. The estimated cost was £16.25 million, including the return on average capital employed of 3.5 per cent. This gives an average cost of £3.71 per transaction. It is important to note that this information is obtained from sampling exercises and is purely an estimate. Sampling exercises are carried out to inform the required level of Land Registry fees charged to customers. Currently, the fee charged for an Official Search of the Land Register for England and Wales is £3 if the application is made electronically or £6 if made by post or in person. Land Registry does not collect detailed information on resource utilization for non-electronic applications for its statutory land registration services as the administrative cost of doing so would be significant and would have to be passed on to its customers.