HC Deb 28 November 1996 vol 286 c456
10. Mr. Barnes

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will arrange for (a) mid-term population estimates and (b) electoral registration figures to be produced by parliamentary constituencies as well as district council area. [4865]

Mrs. Angela Knight

Mid-year population estimates are prepared for local and health authority areas. The latest estimates were published by the Office of National Statistics in August 1996. Electoral registration figures are produced both for local government areas and for parliamentary constituencies and are placed in the House of Commons Library.

Mr. Barnes

I knew that—that is not the answer to the question I asked. I asked whether the electoral registration figures for the eligible population in parliamentary constituencies would be produced alongside the figures on parliamentary registers. If they were, we and our constituents would see that, in each constituency, on average, 5 per cent. of people are missing from electoral registers. In a year when we are moving towards a general election, it is important that we should try to put the electoral register right.

Mrs. Knight

I think that everyone is concerned that people should register to vote and that our electoral registers should be correct. The hon. Gentleman—who has a long-standing concern on this issue—is incorrect about the number of people whom he thinks are not registered to vote. I remind him that the resident population probably includes about 1 million non-Commonwealth and non-Irish citizens who are not eligible to vote. I understand that he is concerned about the fact that there are about 57 fewer people on the electoral roll in his constituency this year compared with last year; I suggest that that may have something to do with him.