HC Deb 01 July 1997 vol 297 cc79-80W
Mr. Barnes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the numbers of disabled people who failed to vote at the last general election due to their inability to gain access to polling stations; and if he will make a statement. [6014]

Mr. George Howarth

Information on the number of disabled people who could not vote in person at the general election because they could not gain access to a polling station is not collected centrally. District and London borough councils are statutorily required to designate as polling places, so far as is reasonable and practicable, only places which are accessible to the disabled. Acting returning officers may apply to the Home Office for grants towards the cost of providing temporary ramps where it is not possible for them to use a building for the purpose of a polling place which affords easy access for the disabled. Grants are also available for specially adapted polling screens for use by the disabled.