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Electoral Register: Finance

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Shadow Minister (Wales)

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing funds allocated by his Department to local government for the purpose of voter registration.

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden Paymaster General (HM Treasury), Minister of State (Cabinet Office)

Funding for the annual household canvass and year round electoral registration (in addition to funding for polls at a local level) is paid for by the local authority using monies from the Revenue Support Grant (RSG) provided through MHCLG and the revenue raised by the authority through council tax, business rates and any reserves. This provides the majority of the funding for electoral registration.

Since the transition to Individual Electoral Registration (IER) in 2014, central Government has provided annual direct funding to local authorities to cover the additional costs of IER compared to the previous household system.

Since 2015/16, five years of annual funding has been provided by Cabinet Office to cover these additional costs, totalling £96M to date. It is expected that planned reform of the annual canvass of electors will significantly reduce the overall cost of registration. The Government is not therefore minded to make an assessment of the potential merits of ring-fencing IER grant funding.

Electoral Registration Officers are responsible for delivering electoral registration services and securing funding from the local authorities that appoint them. It is for local authorities to decide how they allocate their budgets.

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