§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the advantages of a trial use of large print ballot papers and braille templates for elections; and what meetings officials from his Department have held with organisations representing blind and partially sighted people to discuss this issue. 
§ Mr. George Howarth
Officials from this Department last met representatives of the Royal National Institute for the blind (RNIB) on 20 March 1997 to discuss proposals to help blind and partially sighted voters to vote in person. RNIB's clear print guidelines, which include advice on the use of large print and the typeface for ballot papers, were circulated by the Home Office to Acting Returning Officers in February. There is no provision in legislation for the use of templates carrying the details of candidates in braille and large print, to be used in conjunction with the ballot paper available to all other voters at the polling station. Further research would be required to test the practical and timetabling implications of such templates and to ensure that they could be used without becoming subject to error or abuse.