HC Deb 27 February 2003 vol 400 cc719-20W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has for land ownership reform in England and Wales; and what discussions he has had with local government and its representative organisations on the subject of land reform. [98602]

Mr. McNulty

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has no general plans for land ownership reform and have held no such discussions, although the Lord Chancellor's Department is currently considering recommendations by the Law Commission for the abolition of remnants of the feudal system in land law.

Government policy is mainly directed towards making the property markets work better through our proposals for a seller's pack for residential transactions; residential leasehold reform; the introduction of commonhold; the promotion of greater choice and flexibility in commercial leasing as well as reform of the law on renewal of business tenancies; and work HM

Session Bill/Act
DETR Acts/Bills 1997–2001
1997–98 Local Government Finance (Supplementary Credit Approvals) Act 1997 Local Government Contracts Act 1997 Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 Greater London Authority (Referendum) Act 1998 Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 (P) Road Traffic Reduction (National Targets) Act 1998 (P) Waste Minimisation Act 1998 (P)
1998–99 Water Industry Act 1999 Rating (Valuation) Act 1999 Local Government Act 1999 Greater London Authority Act 1999 Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 Road Traffic (Vehicle Testing) Act 1999 (P) Bills dropped: Railways Bill (scrutinised by Select Committee, Bill dropped and proposals pulled into next sessions Transport Bill)
1999–2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 Local Government Act 2000 Transport Act 2000 Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 (P)

Land Registry is undertaking to improve market information available to buyers and sellers of land and to develop electronic conveyancing. Major reforms to the law of land registration and the law of adverse possession will come into force on 13 October 2003 at the commencement of the Land Registration Act 2002. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has also provided greater rights of public access to rural areas.

The Law Commission is working in accordance with its published programme to make land law fairer and more modern. Current projects include major reviews of housing law and compulsory purchase law as well as work on forfeiture of leases. A project on the law of easements and analogous rights such as restrictive covenants is planned in the near future.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what calculation he has made of the likely impact on land prices in England and Wales of land ownership reform in Scotland. [98610]

Mr. McNulty

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has not undertaken a detailed analysis, but given the changes in Scotland there is unlikely to be any impact in England and Wales.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with the Scottish Executive on the subject of land ownership reform. [98611]

Mr. McNulty

None, but officials of the Scottish Executive have provided my officials with briefings on the Scottish land ownership reform programme at their regular contact meetings.

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