§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
asked the President of the Local Government Board, If the Government have considered or made any calculations, first, as to the total additional charges which may be thrown upon the rates by the cost of contested elections in Electoral Divisions under the Local Government Bill; and, secondly, as to the cost per head of the voters on the Register in each Division in respect of such elections; and, if so, whether he can state what is the estimate they have arrived at?
§ THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)
The only reliable information in possession of the Government on this subject is a Return of the cost of the Parliamentary Elections of 1886 in England and Wales, which has been presented to the House. By that it appears that the total amount of the Returning Officers' charges, in both contested and uncontested elections in that year was £109,000. The rateable value of England and Wales is £148,900,000; so that if these charges had fallen on the rates they would have 1063 amounted to about one-sixth of 1d. in the £. It is, however, to be borne in mind that of the £109,000 nearly £42,000 represents the cost in respect of Parliamentary boroughs. As it is proposed that the election of County Councillors should take place at the same time as the Municipal Elections, it may be expected that in Municipal boroughs there will be no very considerable increase of the present cost. I have no doubt, therefore, that the actual cost of the elections of County Councillors will be very considerably less than an average sum of one-sixth of 1d. in the £.