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Electoral Register: Marketing

Volume 479: debated on Thursday 17 July 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much the Electoral Commission has spent on (a) its own voter registration campaigns and (b) voter registration campaigns run by non-governmental organisations in each of the last 10 years. (218986)

The Electoral Commission informs me that its public awareness campaigns both encourage voter registration and provide information about how to take part in elections, including different methods of voting and voting systems. The Commission is therefore not able to separate out its expenditure on voter registration specifically, from its expenditure on wider campaign activity.

The following table shows the total expenditure on the Commission’s campaign activity in each of the past four years for which the relevant financial records are readily available. Equivalent information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The costs include advertising costs, and expenditure on other campaign activity such as research, call centres, websites and publications.

£

2004-05

5,781,527

2005-06

6,334,064

2006-07

5,260,138

2007-08

4,963,172

Section 13 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 gives the Commission power to make grants to other bodies to promote public awareness. I am informed that since 2002 the Commission has awarded grants to organisations for projects that raise awareness of the democratic process, including but not limited to promoting voter registration. The following table shows the total grant funding awarded to non-governmental organisations in each year:

£

2002-03

317,808

2003-04

188,339

2004-05

218,335

2005-06

393,734

2006-07

2,308,406

2007-08

1,177,477

The grants scheme is now closed to new applications and all funded projects will end by 31 March 2010.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much the Electoral Commission spent on voter registration advertising in each of the last five years; and what assessment the Commission has made of the effectiveness of that advertising in increasing voter registration. (218989)

The Electoral Commission informs me that its advertising campaigns both encourage voter registration and provide information about how to take part in elections, including different methods of voting and voting systems. The Commission is therefore not able to separate out its expenditure on voter registration advertising from its wider voter information advertising.

The following table shows the total expenditure on all such advertising in each of the past four years for which the relevant financial records are readily available. Equivalent information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

£

2004-05

4,937,021

2005-06

5,438,551

2006-07

4,412,197

2007-08

4,115,661

A report to the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission by the Comptroller and Auditor General, published in 2006 and entitled “Is the Public Aware of Democracy?” concluded that the Commission had used its resources in raising public awareness in general effectively, when judged by measures such as recall rates and other industry measures for its advertising, and that there appeared to have been an overall positive effect on voter registration.