HC Deb 27 June 1989 vol 155 c825
9. Mr. Harry Barnes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health in how many constituencies in England electoral registration has fallen by 1,000 and more in the last year and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Freeman

The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys is responsible for statistics relating to electoral registers. A volume entitled "Electoral Statistics 1989" is available in the Library. This indicates that the electoral register fell by 1,000 or more in 76 English constituencies between 1988 and 1989, and there were increases of 1,000 or more potential voters in 63 constituencies.

Mr. Barnes

The report by the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys shows also that there was a decline in England of 82,491, and offered as a reason for this that, as it could not be demographic changes or migration, it could have something to do with registration or with the postal strike of 1988. Unfortunately, the postal strike does not account for a similar collapse in Scotland between 1987 and 1988. Who is fiddling the franchise in Finchley and another 75 constituencies in England? Is this the only way that the Government feel that they can hold on to seats?

Mr. Freeman

I am somewhat baffled by that supplementary question. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is responsible for the electoral registration procedures and the franchise is not being fiddled.

Mr. Jessel

As to demographic aspects of the electoral register, has my hon. Friend any information about how many centenarians are on the electoral register? Are they not tending to increase in number, and does this not show an improvement in the nation's health?

Mr. Freeman

Yes. What is more, the doctors' contract makes specific provision for improving care for the very elderly through doctors visiting the over-75s on an annual basis and through higher capitation fees for the elderly.

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