Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 the Electoral Commission is responsible for the conduct of referendums.
The Government have not made a detailed estimate of the likely cost of holding a referendum. We have previously said that, as a guide, we expect the cost of running a UK-wide referendum to be similar to the cost of a general election. In 2005 the general election cost something in excess of £80 million.
There are however, a number of key differences between the running of a general election and the running of a referendum-for example, the role of the Electoral Commission and the entitlements to send communications to voters-and as such the cost of a UK-wide referendum would not be exactly the same as a general election.
The Government have not made an assessment of the level of public support for a referendum.