Jo Stevens MP

A strong voice for Cardiff Central

Jo Stevens - Labour MP for Cardiff Central

Latest Stories

Yesterday, I handed in a petition to the Government with over 275,000 signatures opposing privatisation of the Land Registry.       

          landregistrythreat.jpg

The Lib Dem/Tory Government consulted on similar proposals back in 2014, only to have to abandon its plans in the face of widespread opposition and a very successful campaign against the proposal.

Only 5% of respondents to the Coalition Government's consultation thought that privatisation would boost efficiency and effectiveness and despite deciding against privatisation only two years ago, the current Government is again planning to sell off the Land Registry. 

I was part of the successful campaign to stop privatisation of the Land Registry first time round and I'm campaigning to do the same again.

A 38 Degrees petition calling for the Government to drop its plans for selling off the Land Registry attracted over 275,000 signatures. There is huge strength of opposition to the Government's proposals.

The Land Registry returns over a million pounds in profits annually to taxpayers and regularly receives customer satisfaction rates of well over 90%.

The privatisation of the Land Registry is unnecessary, un-evidenced and unwanted. I am also very concerned that this short-term privatisation will have long-term consequences.

Privatisation could undermine confidence in Land Registry data, jeopardise the service to homebuyers, and erode conditions for staff who work there. The Government is seeking to privatise the profits of the Land Registry, whilst retaining the risk.

I hope that the Government will listen to the concerns that have been raised and stop the selling off of profitable state assets for short-term gain.

You can be assured that I will fight this all the way, together with my Labour colleagues.

  • Last year it gave £119.1m back to the Treasury
  • The Land Registry underpins the guarantee of title of £3 trillion of property
  • It shares experience in developing a world class land registration system with other countries
  • Polling shows nearly 70% of the public want it to stay public
  • Transparency is crucial to identifying and dealing with corruption and tax avoidance, as well as identifying and investigating offshore ownership arrangements
  • HM Land Registry, in dealing with transactions, disputes and changes/updates to the register, must retain impartiality and remain free from any suggestion of conflict of interest –this is impossible if it is privatised.

Land Registry Faces Threat of Privatisation

Yesterday, I handed in a petition to the Government with over 275,000 signatures opposing privatisation of the Land Registry.                   The Lib Dem/Tory...

This morning at Attorney General Questions I pressed the Government to look at the way the Serious Fraud Office is funded. 

In my role as Shadow Solicitor General I asked Jeremy Wright, The Attorney General, about a report from HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, published this week, which found that the current funding model for the Serious Fraud Office does not represent value for money for the taxpayer. The report also found that the funding model does not support long-term strategy or the building of capacity for the future.

Jo_AGQuestions26thMay.png

My concern is that the Serious Fraud Office could be subject to decisions made on the grounds of funding, rather than decisions based on the need to combat fraud and bring prosecutions.

In his response the Attorney General claimed that the current model does not allow for a 'Treasury veto' (i.e. decisions made on the grounds of budget) but I remain unconvinced. He did, however, confirm that the department would look carefully at the Chief Inspector's report and consider if changes are required.

Click here to watch my question.

The full exchange was as follows:

Jo Stevens MP, Shadow Solicitor General:

"This week’s report from HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate into the governance arrangements of the Serious Fraud Office found that the blockbuster funding model does not represent value for money – and it also found that it’s incompatible with long-term strategy, building prosecutorial capability and capacity in-house for future investigations and prosecutions.

"Will the Attorney look at alternative funding models to ensure that the SFO is on a sustainable footing and effectively not subject to a Treasury veto?"

Jeremy Wright MP, Attorney General:

"Well, Mr Speaker, the Honourable Lady will recognise that this particular report from the Chief Inspector, which I asked him to produce in order to look at the way in which the Serious Fraud Office is governed, was a very a balanced report. It put forward some very positive points, too, about the way in which the Serious Fraud Office has improved under the direction of the current director.

"But of course she’s right, questions were asked about the funding model and there is a balance to be struck here as I’ve indicated to her Honourable friend. We have to make sure that the Serious Fraud Office has the money it needs, and we will, and of course the director will never refuse to proceed in a case for lack of funding, so there is no Treasury veto as she suggests.

"But we have to balance the need for that money with the need not to have capacity which is not being used, and being paid for by the taxpayer. So the blockbuster funding model has so far been considered to strike that balance correctly. But of course I’ll look carefully at what the Chief Inspector says and we’ll consider further change as appropriate."

 

You can read the report here:

https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmcpsi/inspections/sfo-governance-arrangements/ 

Funding for the Serious Fraud Office - My Question to the Attorney General

This morning at Attorney General Questions I pressed the Government to look at the way the Serious Fraud Office is funded.  In my role as Shadow Solicitor General I asked...

The vital steel industry in the UK is under threat following proposals by Tata steel, owners of several major plants here in Wales, to close plants in Port Talbot and elsewhere if a buyer cannot be found for the businesses.

Steel plants are the lifeblood of the communities where they are based, providing employment not just for steel workers but for companies in the supply chain and local area.

Jo_SteelQuestion26thMay.png

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has been criticised for his lack of attention to the industry's situation despite being warned that a crisis could be looming. It took until the threat of imminent closure for him to pay any attention at all, and his response so far has been unsatisfactory.

One of the current proposals set out by the Government to support the industry is to reduce the amount of pension payable to current and former employees of Tata and British Steel (the publicly-owned predecessor company). Along with taking money from people's pockets to fix the problems of Government, these proposals are also risky - as they may not even solve the problem - and could set a precedent that it's ok to take money out of workers' pensions to prop up industries left to languish by Governments and multinational owners.

The Minister confirmed that the Pensions Regulator would be consulted on any proposals, but I remain concerned about the impact on workers' pensions.

Watch my exchange with the Minister here.

Jo Stevens MP:

"Can the Secretary of State tell the House whether he or the scheme trustees have had any preliminary discussions with the Pensions Regulator about this potentially very risky and precedent-setting proposal?"

Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

"Yes, I can tell the Honourable Lady that we have, I have, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has as well as other ministers. I think what it underlines is that if any of these proposals in this consultation went ahead it would require the full support of the Pensions Regulator."

 

You can watch the exchange below 

Steel Industry Pensions - My Question to the Business Minister

The vital steel industry in the UK is under threat following proposals by Tata steel, owners of several major plants here in Wales, to close plants in Port Talbot and...

More Stories >

The Labour Party will place cookies on your computer to help us make this website better.

Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site.

To find out more about these cookies, see our privacy notice. Use of this site confirms your acceptance of these cookies.