To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of transporting election literature for Freepost delivery from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth; and what requirements there are on candidates to declare the cost of delivering election literature.
Under section 91 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 ("the 1983 Act"), candidates at parliamentary elections are entitled to send free of charge for postage either one election communication to each elector, or one to each household, in the constituency in which they are standing, subject to any reasonable terms and conditions specified by the universal service provider (the Royal Mail). The cost of the delivery of candidates' election communications to UK addresses by the universal service provider is met by the Consolidated Fund. The Government have made no estimate of the cost of transporting election literature from one location to another for onward delivery by the universal service provider under the provisions of the 1983 Act, since these costs are not met from the Consolidated Fund.
Under the provisions of the 1983 Act, within 35 days after the day on which the result of the election is declared, the election agent of every candidate is required to deliver to the appropriate officer a statement of election expenses incurred by or on behalf of the candidate. Election expenses are those which are used for the purposes of the candidate's election and are incurred in respect of matters listed in Part 1 of schedule 4A of the 1983 Act. Under that schedule, expenses in respect of unsolicited material addressed to electors include design costs and other costs in connection with preparing, producing or distributing such material.