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At Last: Ministers Take Temperature Of Met Office Sale

I have learned that ministers will this week outline plans to attract private investment into the Met Office and other Government-owned data resources.

In his autumn statement on Tuesday, George Osborne will say that the part-privatisation of publicly-owned bodies such as the Met Office will dovetail with a drive to make available a wealth of data which can be freely used by consumers and the private sector.

I understand that the Chancellor’s statement will also include details of plans to make data from the Land Registry, Companies House and the Ordnance Survey more widely accessible. These bodies are expected to be merged into a previously-announced public data company.

And I’m told that ministers will examine a stock market listing as well as the idea of selling a stake to pension funds, private equity firms and other investors as part of their long-term planning.

While it’s not the most eye-catching of the initiatives that Mr Osborne will launch on Tuesday (see my blogs from yesterday for details of the Coalition’s £20bn credit easing scheme and a hike to the rate of the bank levy), it underlines Government efforts to commercialise a wide range of state-owned assets.

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