To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs when he expects to announce what public monies will be made available to assist promotion of the forthcoming referendum vote on the EU constitution; and whether expenditure will be granted to both sides of the debate.
Under the terms of the European Union Bill the Electoral Commission is given powers to encourage voting at the referendum. It will be for the Electoral Commission in due course to present an estimate for the cost of that activity to the Speaker's Committee.
The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides for the Electoral Commission to designate one permitted participant to represent those campaigning for each outcome of the question. Where the Electoral Commission have made such designations, each designated organisation will be eligible for the following forms of assistance:
a grant of up to £600,000 determined by the Electoral Commission; the sending of referendum addresses free of charge; the use of public rooms free of charge for holding public meetings; referendum campaign broadcasts.
The same level of financial and non-cash assistance will be available to each designated organisation.