HC Deb 16 January 1992 vol 201 cc631-2W
Mr. Allen

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the improvements in(a) electoral registration and (b) postal vote availability made since 1979; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold

The number of registered electors in England and Wales has risen from 36,695,180 in 1979 to 38,509,382 in 1991. We provide a variety of publicity material in support of electoral registration officers, and conduct an annual national advertising campaign to encourage people to register. We also carry out annual research into the working methods of electoral registration officers, and produce guidance and advice to assist them in compiling an accurate register.

We have made it easier to obtain a temporary postal vote for a particular election, by replacing the separate and specific categories listed in the Representation of the People Act 1983 with a single provision entitling an elector to a postal vote if his or her circumstances on the date of the election are such that he or she could not reasonably be expected to vote in person at the allotted polling station. This means that those who are away from home unexpectedly on business, on holiday or visiting sick relatives may now have a postal vote in the United Kingdom. The provisions for postal voting have also been extended to elections for parish and community councils.