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Referendums: Electoral Systems

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate has been made of the cost of a referendum on electoral reform; and what assessment has been made of the level of public support for such a referendum. (316545)

Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 the Electoral Commission is responsible for the conduct of referendums.

The Government have not made a detailed estimate of the likely cost of holding a referendum. We have previously said that, as a guide, we expect the cost of running a UK-wide referendum to be similar to the cost of a general election. In 2005 the general election cost something in excess of £80 million.

There are however, a number of key differences between the running of a general election and the running of a referendum—for example, the role of the Electoral Commission and the entitlements to send communications to voters—and as such the cost of a UK-wide referendum would not be exactly the same as a general election.

The Government have not made an assessment of the level of public support for a referendum.