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Electoral Registration

Volume 456: debated on Thursday 1 February 2007

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs which local authorities (a) used and (b) did not use doorstep canvassers to compile the 2007 electoral register. (112096)

This information is not held centrally. Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 placed a new duty on electoral registration officers to take all necessary steps to maintain the electoral register, which includes making on one or more occasions house to house inquiries. Section 67 of the Act requires the Electoral Commission to set and monitor performance standards for electoral services and this will help to provide more information about activity in this area in the future.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will assess the merits of ring fencing funds allocated to local government for registration of voters. (112098)

Provision for the registration of voters is provided through the local authority formula grant, which is not ring-fenced. Spending decisions are made by local authorities, taking into account their statutory responsibilities and local needs. Under the Electoral Administration Act, the Electoral Commission has the power to require financial information from authorities that will show the level of funding. This, coupled with the introduction of performance indicators for registration, will increase transparency in this area.

£19.9 million has been transferred to English local authorities in 2006-07 and £1.2 million will be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales in 2006-07, to cover the new burdens arising from the Electoral Administration Act 2006; notably the new duty on electoral registration officers to maximise the register. The same level of funding will be transferred in 2007-08.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much of the funding allocated to local authorities for registration for elections taking place in 2006-07 has been spent on registration. (117523)

Funding for registration activities is included in the local authority formula grant issued by central Government. Once these funds are allocated, the decision on how they are utilised is a matter for the local authorities concerned.