A DORSET MP has said he is “still concerned” despite plans for the privatisation of the Land Registry not being part of a government bill “now or at a later date”.

Plans were being discussed to privatise the service which employs 200 people in Weymouth, leaving them waiting while a decision is made.

The proposal to sell it off was due to be included in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill but was not included.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax has long been concerned of the plans and the potential effect it could have in Weymouth.

In a recent debate on the bill, Mr Drax asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to confirm that plans to privatise the Land Registry has been “in effect, kicked in to the long grass.”

The privatisation was part of the bill outlined during the Queen’s Speech in May, 2016.

Mr Drax asked Mr Javid: “Has the privatisation of the Land Registry gone? Could it be brought back? Where are the Government on the issue?”

Mr Javid confirmed that the plans would not form part of the bill now or at a later date, adding that a decision “would be for the government to make in the future”.

Mr Drax said: “I am still concerned. 200 skilled, professional jobs are provided by the Land Registry in Weymouth alone, 4,000 in the entire country.

“These jobs will be at risk if the Land Registry is sold off. And with the amount of training needed, they could well be irreplaceable, too. This is not a service which will be improved by privatisation; indeed private ownership could well undermine the integrity of the whole database.

“At present the Land Registry is rigorously maintained under strict checks and balances and any member of the public can examine it. If a profit motive is introduced, private companies will own information, which should be free and accessible to all.

“The land registry underpins our housing and property market, a cornerstone of our economy, and we should do nothing to put its integrity at risk.

“In addition, at the proposed price of £1 billion, the value to the government of a sell off is paltry and could be recouped in just ten years of normal Land Registry activity.

“I understand that new ministers have decided they need time to examine the sell-off proposals before they make a decision. I shall continue to press them to keep this valuable entity in public hands.”