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Elections: Expenditure

Volume 489: debated on Tuesday 17 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 9 March 2009, Official Report, columns 88-89W, on the Electoral Register, how much was provided by his Department to the returning officer in each local authority to meet costs incurred for administering parliamentary and European parliamentary elections in each of the last three years; and what the name of each returning officer was. (263429)

The costs incurred by returning officers for administering parliamentary and European parliamentary elections are paid by the Government out of the Consolidated Fund under section 29 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) 1983 and section 6 of the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002, respectively. Funding for these elections is not made available to returning officers on an ongoing basis—the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the distribution of the funding to the relevant returning officers for these elections, including by-elections, as and when they are held.

The funding covers the necessary costs incurred by returning officers for administering the election in the area for which they act, which will include:

the preparation and printing of ballot papers, poll cards and other election stationery;

hire and use of polling stations and count venues;

equipment needed for the election, such as ballot boxes; and

postage and telephone costs; staffing costs.

Returning officers are also paid a fee for their services in administering the election.

In the last three years, the following amounts have been paid to the returning officers for the constituencies tabled for administering the parliamentary by-elections that have been held in those constituencies:

Constituency (date of by-election)

Amount (£000)

Blaenau Gwent (29 June 2006)


Bromley and Chislehurst (29 June 2006)


Ealing, Southall (19 July 2007)


Sedgefield (19 July 2007)


Crewe and Nantwich (22 May 2008)


Henley (26 June 2008)


Haltemprice and Howden (10 July 2008)


1 These figures are subject to final confirmation and may change.

No European parliamentary elections have been held in the last three years.

The names of individual returning officers are not held centrally. Under section 28 of the RPA 1983, the duties of the returning officer for constituencies at a parliamentary election will be discharged by the Electoral Registration Officer appointed by the local authority (as acting returning officer).