Yesterday the review of the Parliamentary boundaries for the next general election kicked off – not that there is much to see yet. The English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Boundary Commissions announced the beginning of the review, the electorate figures which they’ll be working off, and the number of seats that each country and region will be divided up into.

The review will be based on the same new rules as the review that was abandoned during the last Parliament. The amendment passed by Labour and the Lib Dems didn’t reverse the changes that the government had made to the rules on boundary reviews, they just delayed the next review for five years. This means the new review starts up now and will report in 2018, ready to be implemented for the 2020 election. This is not a case of the aborted review from the last Parliament being implemented, it’s a brand new review based on updated electorate numbers. However in terms of the broad strokes the proposals will be quite similar.

The boundary review will reduce the number of seats from 650 to 600, and go from boundaries based on 2001 electorates to boundaries based on 2015 electorates. Comparing the current boundaries to proposed new ones there will be some very substantial changes – it’s inevitable when fifty seats are being chopped. Comparing the numbers to what would have happened under the aborted review in the last Parliament the changes will be more modest.

Scotland will see its current 59 seats fall to 53 (compared to 52 in the aborted review), Wales will see its seat numbers fall from 40 to 29 (compared to 30 in the aborted review), Northern Ireland will get 17 seats (compared to 18 currently, 16 in the aborted review). Across the English regions the South East and East will lose 1 seat each, the East Midlands will lose 2 seats, North East 4, Yorkshire 4, London 5, West Midlands 6 and the North West 7. In most cases these figures are the same as the aborted review – the differences are that the West Midlands will lose an extra seat (probably in the Metropolitan area), the Eastern region will lose one less seat (it looks to me like Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire will no longer require a cross-county seat and the loss there will no longer happen, so Nadine Dorries will be reprieved) and the North East will lose an extra seat.

My calculations last year were that if the 2015 election had been fought on the boundaries from the aborted review it would have given the Conservatives a majority of 44. The Tories would have won nine fewer seats, Labour 28 fewer, the SNP six fewer and the Lib Dems just four. The impact of this new boundary review will likely be broadly similar, but perhaps a little worse for Labour: the extra seat reductions in the North East and West Midlands are likely to be Labour, the relative gains in the East Midlands and Scotland will be Conservative and SNP.

Those won’t the only differences though – we’ve had five years of population drift and the change in registration since then, so many of the proposals the boundary commissions made in 2012 would no longer add up anyway. Unavoidably, the detailed proposals will be different from what we saw in 2012. These won’t be extra seats created or abolished, just boundaries drawn in different ways. To give a couple of examples –

Coventry currently has three seats, and at the aborted review it still had just the right population to retain three seats for itself. Its electorate has now fallen to the point where it’s impossible to draw three seats that hit quota, so while there will still be three seats covering Coventry, one will have to take in some wards from outside Coventry, I’d guess from Warwickshire.

University seats saw a particular drop in the number of registered electors from the move to individual registration, so Cambridge constituency as it was previously proposed will no longer be large enough. There will still almost certainly be a Cambridge seat, but it will now probably cover the whole of the Cambridge council area and have to include a ward from outside Cambridge to make up the numbers.

Other areas where the electorate has dropped notably since the aborted boundary review include Blackpool, Leeds, Oxford, Kensington, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Carlisle and Newcastle. In places like these proposals will probably be substantially different to the aborted review – boundaries will need to move outwards, or the Commissions will choose to arrange the boundaries in completely different ways. At the other end of the scale, the electorate is notably higher in places like East Devon, Bedfordshire, Thanet, Greenwich and Bermondsey, so movement there is likely to be in the opposite direction.

In some cases those small adjustments will have a domino effect and require big changes through a whole county to make sure everything is in quota (though it is has been suggested that the English boundary commission will be more willing to split wards, making their task easier and – hopefully – avoiding some of the dafter proposals we saw last time). Even where there are small changes they may have party partisan effects here and there, making seats that little bit better or worse for parties, tipping the occasional marginal into the other column.

We won’t have any further details until the Commissions release their initial proposals, expected to be in September. At that point we will be able to start working out notional figures and coming up with detailed estimates of what the partisan impact of the boundary changes will be.


203 Responses to “The new boundary review gets going”

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  1. @Carfrew – I’m intrigued why you say that?

  2. Watching the vagaries of the international currency market I note that between August and December when I got my first full UK pension cheque the value, against the Canadian $ rose by 1.5%, but now that you have all started talking about “leaving” the EU it has dropped by 5.6% since December.

    Have there been any polls comparing voters who have actually travelled to Europe, worked and lived there versus voters who have never left the UK?

    Are there any polls that show how retired Ex-Pats, living in Europe will vote, just curious?

    And lastly has anyone thought about or asked about how many American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand comapnies will move from the UK to Europe, if the UK leaves the EU, or is that just pure speculation on my part.

    I ask the latter question because there are a number of Japanese companies (and now some Chinese), automakers in particular, who have built plants in Canada, so that after NAFTA was signed, they could more easily export vehicles and trucks into the US.

    I just wonder how many transnational corporations will shut up shop and leave if the UK votes to leave the EU?

    On the question of boundaries for electoral districts, we used to call them ridings, and I believe you call them constituencies, our electoral redistribution act requires the average size to be based on the census population living in each one, not the number of registered voters.

    The variance is +/- 25% with special provision for remote and rural seats like the Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut. Then because we have a written constitution Prince Edward Island cannot have fewer HoC seats than Senators, so they are locked in at four, and then Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all got locked in so that their number of HoC seats cannot be reduced.

    That then leaves British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, who average in excess of 100,000 population per seat which by geography leads to some pretty large rural seats.

    The Interior of British Columbia, for example, about the size of the UK, has just eight seats now, down from about twelve when I first moved here.

    I have run twice federally for the Green Party and both times it took me more than seven hours to drive from the eastern boundary to the western boundary of the seat I was running in.

    The problem with large seats like these is that one person cannot possibly address all the issues that arise inside the boundaries, which vary because of the different geography and nature of the economy that can go from agriculture to logging to mining.

    Given the compact nature of the UK I doubt you face those kinds of issues. And as for the unelected HoL, our current Prime Minister kicked all the Liberal Senators out of the party and is vowing not to appoint anymore Senators, unless specific provinces ask him to do so.

    We’ve just gone through a year long trial of one of our Senators, a former tv journalist, whom the crown charged 31 times for fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

    The former head of our PMO, now working in the UK, tried to cut this Senator a personal cheque for $90,000, so he could pay back alleged false expense claims.

    Needless to say our unelected Senators are currently in the doghouse because there is now more than one Senator awaiting trial in the queue.

  3. “I have run twice federally for the Green Party and both times it took me more than seven hours to drive from the eastern boundary to the western boundary of the seat I was running in.”

    I used to have a car like that!

  4. @Alec

    Dya not remember your little Freudian slip regarding Nadine a while back?

  5. Norfolk….

    Very good!

  6. AMBIVALENTSUPPORTER

    I’d say there’s a chance, but it’s still more likely the boundary chances will be passed. In 2013, despite a Tory rebellion, only a few Tory MPs voted against.

    But in 2013 Conservative backbenchers knew that the changes were doomed anyway because the Lib Dems refused to support them after Cameron failed to deliver on Lords reform. So there was no need to blot your copybook or go against a manifesto promise. Only four of the constitutional awkward squad voted against.

    This time there will be a lot more self-interest involved and no certainty of the changes being lost unless it is exercised. There will also be principled objections that can be made. The Electoral Commission wanted the final implementation of Individual Voter Registration delayed till after the cut-off date, Cameron refused. A HoC committee wanted the 650 figure restored:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-pushes-ahead-with-plans-to-cut-the-number-of-mps-from-650-to-600-a6869656.html

    Cameron refused. This will not only annoy the usual suspects but worry more mainstream Tories as well.

  7. @Carfrew – ah yes. I had successfully managed to put that behind me.

    Back to the therapy again I guess.

  8. The electoral statistics for December 2015 on which the new boundaries are supposed to be based, came out on Wednesday. The report is here:

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/elections/electoralregistration/bulletins/electoralstatisticsforuk/2015

    with a link (via ‘View all data…’) to an Excel with the figures by constituency and local authority area.

    The effect of IVR is clearly shown by the fact that only Northern Ireland (which has had IVR for some time) has had an increase in figures. However this is actually the second year of IVR in the rest of the UK and some places show a big increase, presumably due to making a bigger effort this year in the registration drive. So university seats tend to figure in both the lists with the biggest increases (Bath, Riverside, Loughborough) and the biggest drops (Canterbury, Cambridge). To see the true effect of IVR we probably need to look at changes from 2013.

  9. @ OldNat
    “the only other country sharing a land border with the UK”

    Technically it’s not true. There is land border with France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Only you can’t see it as it is under water (but in most places not more than 45 metres). To see it, we have to wait till the next glacier period (postponed due to global warming), but six thousand years ago you could walk to most of these neighbours.

    Pedantry …

  10. @Alec

    There’s no escape. I thought I’d put the car thing behind me after the weekend, but peeps bringing cars up again with scant regard…

  11. At least the smoking ads have stopped though…

  12. @laszlo

    How much does the sea have to rise till we’re cut off from Scotland? Just in case it ever comes up as a Trivial pursuit question or summat…

  13. Or, ya know, global warming and stuff…

  14. I’d not known about this until recently, but apparently Scotland used to float around freely thousands of miles from England, before unfortunately colliding and getting stuck

    http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/geology/scotland/continents.asp

  15. I’ve posted this before but there is a fun little site that allows you to play around with the constituencies, build new ones etc Some of you might find it fun.
    http://boundaryassistant.org/PlanBuilder.htm

    On another note regarding Tory rebels for the review I think there is a chance the Tories might become victims of their own success. With 11 Welsh seats getting the chop and the Tories doing disproportionately well in Wales last time I imagine there will be at least 5 Con rebels in Wales alone, possibly more.

  16. @ James E

    I think it’s a very strong argument for independence that the SNP failed to make. IIRC at one point, there was a 4k gap between England/Wales and Scotland. England/Wales were at the South Pole and Scotland was sunning itself at the equator. I’m afraid I’m not quite sure about Ireland. I wonder if NI was up there at the equator whilst the ROI was stuck at the South Pole with England/Wales.

  17. Well, the more I think about it, the more bizarre it seems to me that the boundaries are to be based on the most recent edition of the electoral roll. Even people who don’t register to vote should be represented. After all an MP is supposed to represent ALL his or her constituents once elected. That includes the ones who aren’t on the register, even the committed anarchists.

    It’s also a bit daft to use just one timepoint. We’re presumably not going to have another boundary review in a while, so we ought to be taking account of how the population is going to change. We’ve got time series data and the census gives us children who’ll come on stream as voters, which is useful for trying to model likely change. Of course no model is going to get it right, but I’d have thought it was better than just ignoring shifts in population distribution.

    But then I still think there’s an argument for numerical over-representation of minority interests (less important after devolution, but still relevant given the divergence between the prosperous SE and just about everywhere else).

    It’s also interesting to consider the relative merits of homogeneous and non-homogeneous constituencies…

  18. Sorbus
    I agree totally, the electoral register has always been horrifically incomplete even before the introduction of IVR, vast swathes of eligible voters are treated like they don’t exist.

    As for why it hasn’t been changed the Tories have a very real partisan interest in using the ER since they’re voters are more likely to be registered and thus Tory seats are traditionally smaller (population not electorate) simply due to higher registration rates. A quick online search and apparently the average population for urban seats (traditionally Lab voting) is about 105,000 while for rural seats (traditionally Con voting) its 92,000 thus supercharging Tory voters essentially.

    You’d think Labour would have had something to say about this but alas they have not and the Tories have been able to keep the issue at bay with the potent (though not necessarily fair) argument that registration is a case of personal responsibility and not doing so is that persons own fault.

  19. Laszlo

    Good point re land borders under the sea – well almost. :-)

    Trouble is, all of them lie outwith the territorial waters of the relevant states and were determined by international treaties, rather than the proper British way of sending a gunboat.

    Worse, some had to be settled by arbitration (done by foreigners!) under the Law of the Sea Convention.

    Fortunately, that didn’t apply in the case of the UK/Scotland border with Norway, where the UK happily gifted many productive oil fields to Norway. At least the revenues from those have been better used than how the UK would have squandered them.

  20. If they don’t use the Electoral Roll, what would they use? The census from 2011 is more out of date, and I also heard that the government is thinking of stopping censuses (censi?) because they have become less and less accurate with many people not completing the form, or saying they are Jedi Knights etc.

  21. Alec – “Going back to David Owen’s call to vote to leave, I think this kind of intervention makes it clear that the result isn’t by any means a foregone conclusion.”

    Yes.

    I think Cameron thought the ref would be a contest between him and Farage, and he could then safely label all the Leave bunch as “fruitcakes, closet racists” etc.

    Instead it’s turned into a contest between Cameron v Boris and Lord Owen and other worthy people, none of whom are fruitcakes or closet racists. And Farage has been relegated to the fringes without much air time.

    I notice Cameron has been very bad tempered since Boris made his declaration, having a go at Boris in the chamber, and then Corbyn (the latter was like kicking a helpless puppy, he shouldn’t do it, especially as Corbyn has become irrelevant anyway).

    I wonder what the private polls on the referendum are showing (has he retained that American data-miner that he used to such good effect in the general election?)

  22. PETE B

    If they don’t use the Electoral Roll, what would they use? The census from 2011 is more out of date, and I also heard that the government is thinking of stopping censuses (censi?) because they have become less and less accurate with many people not completing the form, or saying they are Jedi Knights etc.

    The trouble is that the electoral roll is so much more inaccurate (even in its own terms) than the census that even being more up to date wouldn’t compensate to make it more accurate than it. In any case what would presumably happen would be that a boundary redrawing would take automatically take place after each census as happens in the US for example (though it’s technically a little more complicated than that).

    The thing about the census is that a lot more effort goes into making it correct and comprehensive with enumerators calling at all addresses and so on. Proof that it is more accurate is that each census tends to produce unexpected results in terms of how many people there are – estimates from using other statistics such as electoral registration often turn out to be wrong when things are looked at in more detail.

    And if people aren’t filling in the census form, they’re certainly unlikely to register to vote, because there is much more compulsion to fill in the census. So if you are going to make accuracy the main criterion for MP allocation, you should use the census.

  23. Of course, even better to have PR, then everyone’s vote is equal(ish) regardless of the size of the electorate in a given constituency.

  24. EXIT POLL: 25 minutes from now, for Irish General Election.

  25. Roger Mexico
    “The trouble is that the electoral roll is so much more inaccurate (even in its own terms) than the census that even being more up to date wouldn’t compensate to make it more accurate than it.”

    Do you have any evidence for these assertions? For instance, As the census was 5 years ago, how many people have moved house/emigrated/died since then?

    You also said “The thing about the census is that a lot more effort goes into making it correct and comprehensive with enumerators calling at all addresses and so on.”

    This is news to me. I don’t recall anyone ever calling to check the census returns. My wife half-remembers that she may have seen one once in her entire life (6 censuses).

  26. @ Pete B

    There has been a lot of academic and practitioner discussion on the reliability of the census data. The debate is really about how reliable they are a different levels. There is no such a discussion on the registration data as everyone knows that they are unreliable,

    It is really an anomaly of the Anglo Saxon world (not quite) that you have to register that you want to exercise your right.

    In the age of databases and processing power, it wouldn’t be difficult to put together a reliable sizing of the constituencies from different sources. Such a method would give a good estimate of the number of people (by age and nationality) without breaching data protection.

  27. ORB poll on EUref (with data table link)

    http://www.opinion.co.uk/article.php?s=campaign-so-far-has-one-in-three-more-inclined-to-leave

    With both campaigns officially launched what impact has the coverage had on the minds of voters? One in four (24%) say it has made them more inclined to vote to remain while one in three (32%) say it has made them more inclined to vote for Brexit. Looking at those who voted Conservative in 2015 the gap is even larger – 24% report being more inclined to remain in the EU, 41% more inclined to leave.

    1. How can both campaigns be officially launched, when the principal campaigns haven’t been selected yet?

    2. Since Jan, slight shift to Remain in wee Scots sample, and more now “inclined” to Remain (22%) than Leave (18%).

  28. Mentioning databases – a few days after mentioning NI registration numbers here, a certain Mr Farage came up with some NI number registration scale. Obviously, coincident.

    But if it is not, I’m now convinced that it is a labour market indicator rather than an immigration one, although there is a correlation with some ump, but the rest does not belong here.

  29. Laszlo
    “It is really an anomaly of the Anglo Saxon world (not quite) that you have to register that you want to exercise your right.”

    I’m not quite sure what this means, but could the lack of identity cards in the UK (I’m not sure about the rest of the ‘Anglo-Saxon world’) be the reason for this? Obviously there has to be some way of checking that those who turn up to vote actually have the right, especially in the modern world where there are so many foreign nationals who can vote in some elections but not others.

    “In the age of databases and processing power, it wouldn’t be difficult to put together a reliable sizing of the constituencies from different sources. Such a method would give a good estimate of the number of people (by age and nationality) without breaching data protection.”

    Yes, that is obviously technically possible, but would require legislation – not least, amendment of the Data Protection Act.

  30. @Oldnat – I had to laugh, seeing Melanie Phillips (of the D Mail) complaining about ‘establishment bullying’ and ‘project fear’ re the EU referendum on Newsnight tonight.

    I don’t recall her or her paper being remotely squeamish about such tactics back in September 2014.

  31. RTE are reporting an Ipsos/MRBI Exit poll for Irish Elections:

    FG 26.1%
    FF 22.9%
    Sinn Fein 14.9%
    Labour 7.8%
    AAA/PBP 3.6%
    Green 3.5%
    SD 2.8%
    Renua 2.6%
    (Others 15.8%)

  32. Alec

    :-)

    I still chuckle at Bill Patrick’s comment that we shouldn’t be surprised at hypocrisy among the “Leavers of Power”

  33. A very bad result for the Irish government parties. The main winners are “others”.

  34. You can read the full article in the Irish Times at:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/election-2016-irish-times-exit-poll-shows-coalition-well-short-of-overall-majority-1.2550489

    The sample of 5,260 voters was taken at 200 polling stations and is estimated to be accurate +/- 1.2% 19 times out of 20.

  35. FF (Irelands historic main party) have gone up a decent amount since their disaster 2011, so they are on their way back.

    FG (lead party in govt) not getting a last minute surge. Down 10% from last election.

    Labour – down more than 10% from last time. Bad night for them.

    SF: up from 10% last time to 15% this time. But they had had 25% in the opinion polls in 2014 so this is good but not the amazing break through.

    Lots of votes for “others”- independent candidates and anti austerity folks – who pick up a lot of votes. Will be curious how many seats they get.

  36. A bit of a wierd Irish election – no party is strong and lots of fragmentation and independents.

  37. Andy Shadrack

    Clearly we’re going to have to see what the vote transfers in Ireland produce in terms of the TDs from each party (or Independents of a variety of hues) before seeing what coalitions might form.

    Like the UK, the USA, and more spectacularly Canada, the traditional power elites hold on power is being rapidly eroded.

    Not so much Buggins turn any more, but Buggins can bugger off!

  38. Interesting to see who will form government, and note that if these numbers hold true that the Greens will have nearly doubled their vote from last time.

    The continued lesson here is that smaller parties should not go into government with larger parties.

  39. Andy Shadrack

    “The continued lesson here is that smaller parties should not go into government with larger parties.”

    I can see how (in theory) within a Federal system, parties representing the electorates of different provinces/states etc could form a successful coalition at the Federal level, but within a single electoral system, it seems very unwise for any smaller party to do more than provide C&S.

    As the SNP showed in 2007, when they were forced (it wasn’t what they wanted) into minority government, that can be the best strategy – if the opposition is fragmented.

  40. via Irish Election Stats
    ?
    Latest model run for TD outcome:
    FG: 59
    FF: 34
    SF: 27
    IND: 19
    LAB: 7
    AAAPBP: 5
    SD: 4
    RN: 2
    GP: 1

  41. OldNat

    Those figures were from the last opinion polls. David Higgins projection from the exit poll are:

    Irish Times Ipsos/MRBI exit poll seat projections:
    FG: 48
    FF: 40
    SF: 26
    IND: 21
    LAB: 9
    GP: 4
    SD: 4
    AAAPBP: 4
    RN: 2

    https://twitter.com/ElectionStatsIE/status/703363754969448449

  42. PETE B

    I don’t recall anyone ever calling to check the census returns. My wife half-remembers that she may have seen one once in her entire life (6 censuses).

    But you’re the sort of well-organised people who will fill the form in correctly and return it promptly. The enumerator probably hand-delivered your form through the letter box and didn’t then need to call again. No doubt you always do the same with the electoral register forms.

    The people the enumerator does need to chase up and possibly even sit with when they fill in the form will be the ones who don’t return it first (or even second) time or who don’t complete it or fill it in wrong or have complicated households that they need advice about how to enter or who are barely literate and need help. These people will (mostly) be eventually included in the census, however they are much less likely to appear on the electoral roll.

    Now they’re also the same sort of people who are likely to move around a lot, it’s true. However they’re likely to be replaced by similar sorts of people. Indeed one reason why people don’t bother to register is because they move around. So the list of people in a particular area may be incorrect, but the overall numbers will pretty much correct, certainly a lot more than missing them out altogether which is what happens if you take the electoral roll figures.

  43. @varioous
    As it seems a complete refurbishment of the House of Commons needs to be done, instead of tinkering with boundaries why not tinker with the HoC voting?
    Weight an MP’s vote according to the total number of votes actually cast in the constituency in the general election. It might remind MPs they represent all constituents and even encourage voting, as turnout is now down in the 60% region. On the other hand, in very safe seats minority voters might not bother in even greater numbers, to reduce the value of the ‘safe’ MP’s vote. At least it would eliminate time spent and agro about whether the boundaries should be changed. The results od HoC votes might be a bit less predictable too, as they would depend on who specifically voted for and against.

    Of course, like leaving the EU, this would be a terrible leap in the dark.

  44. Roger – “Proof that it is more accurate is that each census tends to produce unexpected results in terms of how many people there are – estimates from using other statistics such as electoral registration often turn out to be wrong when things are looked at in more detail.”

    Between-census estimates of population aren’t based on alternative methods of counting, they are built upon the census. Essentially, they are done by taking the numbers from the last census, adding the number of people born in the UK, subtracting the number who have died, and estimating people who’ve come in or out from the international passenger survey at ports of entry. Given registration of births and deaths is probably even more accurate than the census, I expect most of the difference between the mid-year estimates and the results of the actual census is down to the difficulty of measuring immigration and emmigration.

  45. AW
    @” the difficulty of measuring immigration and emmigration.”

    If Jonathan Portes’s remarks on DP yesterday ( NHS numbers vs Immigration stats) are any guide , then its not so much a “difficulty” as a truth concealed by useless data.

  46. Anthony

    Oh I know that ONS use the censuses to recalibrate the numbers each time – that’s why the census is so valuable. The point I was making (perhaps not very clearly) was that, even from the same start point every ten years the numbers using other sources can diverge quite a bit from what the following census finds[1].

    Undoubtedly the migration figures (including the internal ones) are the cause of the problem. The only thing more inaccurate than using passenger surveys is not using anything, and the number of NiNos issued are known to have all sorts of problems.

    Of course it’s highly amusing to see the sort of people who have spent recent decades complaining about too much red tape, now complaining because there wasn’t enough of it[2]. The lack of control started with Thatcher scrapping monitoring of those leaving the country to ‘save money’ and any attempt to find out why the NiNo numbers are so out of line would no doubt be stopped as being not ‘business-friendly’. In truth the current situation probably suits the government as the decline in public services can be blamed on a carefully undefined number of immigrants rather than under-funding.

    [1] This is why abandoning the physical census, as Guernsey did in 2011 is so foolish. Though I suppose if you never try to find out what the facts are, you can never be proved wrong.

    [2] If there’s anything that’s most typical of the Spoilt Brat Generation of the baby boomers and before, it’s the cries of “How dare you do what we told you to do! It’s all your fault”. See also bankers and regulation.

  47. In our human trafficking investigation we found that sometimes a foreign national would fly into the UK, register for a NINo and then fly out again, never to return.

    We haven’t really quite understood this yet. They didn’t do any work, claim any benefits or anything else. Not sure if it’s a sort of “sleeper” operation (creating a record of someone that can be used later).

    But if that’s widespread, it would make NINo’s very questionable as a statistic. Eventually every EU citizen could have one.

  48. Or to put Roger’s comment in a nutshell, if you want to cobble together some justification for voter registration, then undermine the data used to keep the census more accurately up to date.

    On the grounds of “red tape”. And then you can have… the red tape of… voter registration!!

  49. In the meantime two polls show an increase in the popularity of CDU-CSU and Merkel’s approval, while the AfD falls.

    Note: the changes (2%) are within MoE.

  50. The 1970 Hungarian census was very pleasant for me. Then school teacher visited every single households in the country and they filled in the form. As a result, the winter break was a week longer.

    By the way, the questions, the method (including what one must answer and what not) of the 2011 census for all member states was regulated by an EU directive. (I’m giving free ammunition here to the Brexit). It also included the census of institutions.

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