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General Elections

Volume 508: debated on Monday 29 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Peterborough of 3 March 2010, Official Report, column 1246W, on general elections, whether any local authority which counted votes on the evening of the 2005 general election was not refunded for the full staff costs of counting on that evening. (324842)

The Representation of the People Act 1983 provides that the Secretary of State will pay the reasonable costs of returning officers for the conduct of elections—including for the count—as long as they are necessary for the efficient and effective conduct of the poll. Where a claim for costs in relation to any aspect of the conduct of the poll does not satisfy this statutory test then it would not be met. Information about whether this happened in respect of the costs of the count process specifically in relation to any of the 569 claims from returning officers in England and Wales in 2005 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. I am not aware, however, that any returning officer was provided with insufficient funding for the count at the 2005 general election.