The hon. Gentleman has raised two issues. The fact that individual registration was implemented overnight in Northern Ireland led to that sharp drop, not all of which was accounted for by the removal of people who should not have been on the register because they were not eligible to vote in the first place, which is one reason for introducing individual registration. It is because we do not want to see a similar dramatic fall here that I announced the safeguard that we would not remove people from the register immediately, and certainly not before the next general election.
As for the hon. Gentleman's second point about resources and ring-fencing, it is a difficult argument. Local authorities generally take exception to central Government's giving them ring-fenced amounts and micro-managing what they do. I know that it can be argued that central Government should say that this is a different area, but that is not a view that has been taken so far. I will think about the hon. Gentleman's suggestion, but I do not think that the Government will pursue it.