§ 44. Mr. Nabarro
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware that paper, board and similar materials have increased in cost by 100 per cent. or more, since the February, 1950, General Election and 636 printing 25 per cent., or more, and that the average costs of these materials and services in an average constituency of 56,000 electors, was in excess of £300 at that election; and whether, in view of these rises in the cost of essential election services he will introduce legislation to sanction a commensurate increase in the maxima permitted current election expenses, respectively £450 plus 2d. per elector in a county constituency, and £450 plus 1½d. per elector in a borough constituency, for all future Parliamentary elections and by-elections.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the maxima permitted election expenses set out in the Representation of the People Act, 1948, were based on the purchasing power of the £ at that time, and that the purchasing power of the £ has declined very considerably even since last March? Is it not equitable, therefore, that we should get some adjustment of this figure?
§ Mr. Nabarro
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any consultations have taken place between his Department and the principal political parties about this problem, which is becoming ever more virulent?
§ Mr. Mulley
In view of these facts, would my right hon. Friend see that these maximum sums are not exceeded when the election comes without appropriate action following?
§ Sir H. Williams
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at the conference held under Mr. Speaker's presidency I was primarily responsible for the proposal to cut down the cost of election expenses? I very much resent the remarks of the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Nally).