To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what has been the total cost of establishing and publishing the system of overseas voter registrations.
Advertising campaigns to inform British citizens living abroad of their voting rights were undertaken in 1986, when the overseas franchise was introduced by the Representation of the People Act 1985; and in 1990, upon the extension of the qualifying period from five to 20 years, under the Representation of the People Act 1989. The total costs involved were £279,000 and £705,000 respectively. In 1991 a total of £1,400 was spent on updating the posters used in British diplomatic posts abroad.The costs of the passage of the 1985 and 1989 Acts were largely absorbed within existing provision. Estimates of any additional costs involved could be provided only at disproportionate cost.The cost to local authorities of registering overseas electors under the 1989 Act in 1990 and 1991 is estimated to be £172,000. Estimates for the years 1986 to 1989 are not available.