Committee (11th Day) (Continued)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 19th January 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Maxton Lord Maxton Labour 9:15 pm, 19th January 2011

I entirely agree with my noble friend. In a previous existence, I was the Scottish Office spokesman for the Labour Party on the poll tax in Scotland. Nowadays there is no fine at all and no compulsion on anyone to register in terms of the law, but the Conservative Government of the day increased very considerably the fines that were available to the courts to fine people if they did not fill in the registration forms. Why? Because they knew that the register was the best way of trying to ensure that they got the poll tax paid. Some people were advised not to go on the electoral register. I think that was wrong, but large numbers of young people did exactly that.

I think that we should have had compulsory ID cards. This whole question of who was or was not registered would have been solved, and it would have been to the benefit of our society. Yes, it would have cost money, but the registration process would have been much cheaper and the health service might well have been considerably better and cheaper, and there would have been a whole range of other benefits that would have accrued from having it.