Land Registry

Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th April 1989.

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Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford 12:00 am, 10th April 1989

To ask the Attorney-General what is the present number of staff employed by the Land Registry.

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

At 1 March 1989 the Land Registry employed 11,476 staff.

Photo of Mr Colin Shepherd Mr Colin Shepherd , Hereford

Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that, despite an increase in staff, the Land Registry has admitted that there is no prospect of an immediate reduction in the unacceptable delay in handling transactions? Is my hon. and learned Friend satisfied that the current policy of compulsory registration by 1990 is sustainable? Should the time scale be extended, the backlog cleared and then calls for voluntary registration, where appropriate, made?

Photo of Sir Nicholas Lyell Sir Nicholas Lyell Solicitor General (Law Officers)

My hon. Friend may know that, last year, the complement of staff was increased by more than 2,100 and as a result the Land Registry's throughput has increased considerably. Last year, some 6·4 million pre-completion, pre-contract transactions were dealt with — 90 per cent. within four days and the remaining 10 per cent. within six to seven days. The problem arises with the post-completion, substantive applications where there has been an average delay of four months. With the increase in staff, those applications are now being worked off quite fast at the rate of about 112,000 since the beginning of this year, over and above the speed at which those applications are coming in. It is reckoned that the Land Registry is on course to achieve a satisfactory standard by March next year.