The government is to push through proposals in November's Queen's Speech which could lead to greater transparency in the sale of commercial and residential property, writes John Lewis.

The reforms, which are likely to be introduced as part of a bigger bill regulating the use of conveyancing on the internet, could see the price paid for a property recorded in the Land Registry alongside details of its registered title, mortgage and conveyancing.

Geoffrey Hoon, the Lord Chancellor's minister of state, is prepared to confront criticism from lawyers to improve the efficiency of property transactions and reduce fraud by freely revealing the price paid for a property.

Lawyers have voiced strong opposition to the plans, claiming that the reforms will invade privacy and harm negotiation.

Some agents are also worried that the proposals could spell the end of confidentiality clauses inserted by their clients which maintain secrecy in transactions and prevent open negotiation.

However, the RICS has lobbied since 1993 for changes, claiming that they could reduce corruption and enhance transparency.

The British Property Federation is maintaining a cautious stance. Assistant director Richard Lambert said the bill needs fine-tuning to prevent misleading information about property values.

If the bill goes ahead it could become law in 2000.