Voter Registration

Oral Answers to Questions — Electoral Commission Committee – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Labour, Southampton, Test 2:30 pm, 5th March 2007

What assessment the Electoral Commission has made of voter registration, broken down by housing tenure.

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

The Electoral Commission informs me that its report, "Understanding electoral registration", published in 2005, found that people living in rented or rent-free accommodation were on average up to five times more likely not to be registered than owner-occupiers.

Photo of Alan Whitehead Alan Whitehead Labour, Southampton, Test

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply. Is it not therefore somewhat surprising that the registration of voters in rented accommodation does not appear in the recommended indicators put forward by the Electoral Commission? Would it be a good idea to look at that again to see whether those indicators might be amended to provide information on the registration of people in those circumstances?

Photo of Peter Viggers Peter Viggers Conservative, Gosport

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this issue. The figure that I gave conceals a number of discrepancies. For instance, 27 per cent. of those living in accommodation rented from private landlords or letting agencies are unregistered and 11 per cent. of those renting from a housing association are likely to be unregistered. The commission's research identified several reasons for under-registration. Some people are unintentionally unregistered, while others are deliberately unregistered. He makes a useful proposal, and I am sure that the Electoral Commission will wish to consider it.