Electoral Commission (Costs)

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 30th January 2006.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley 2:30 pm, 30th January 2006

What was the cost of the Electoral Commission for the last year for which figures are available.

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Electoral Commission's accounts for 2004–005, which were laid before the House on 27 October 2005, show that its expenditure in that year in resource terms was £28,824,000.

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

Is that not a considerable sum of money and probably more than it costs to run the central headquarters of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties combined? Does the Electoral Commission not seem to be straying into all sorts of areas way beyond its original remit, and is it not time that we started to look at whether it represents proper value for money?

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Electoral Commission undertakes duties that have been laid upon it by Parliament. Before each financial year, the commission submits to the Speaker's Committee an estimate of the commission's income and expenditure for that year and the Speaker's Committee takes account of the latest report by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the commission and it also consults the Treasury and considers any advice that the Treasury may give before the Speaker's Committee lays the Electoral Commission's estimates before the House.