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Ms Harman: Returning Officers have a duty to complete a 'statement as to postal ballot papers'; for each election (form K, schedule 3 to the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001). This includes the total of postal ballot papers issued and received by the Returning Officer.
The Electoral Commission will collate and publish this information later this summer, as part of their general duty to report on UK Parliamentary elections. We cannot make an assessment of the exact percentage of the overall turnout that can be attributed to postal voting, until the Commission publishes its report.
Lorely Burt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many cases resulting in conviction there have been of (a) denying another person's right to a secret vote when using a postal ballot and (b) forcing another to vote for a certain person or political party when using a postal ballot in each of the last five years. 
Ms Harman: This information is not held centrally. The following table indicates the number of people found guilty of electoral fraud related offences from 1994 to 2002. Since 2002 a councillor in Blackburn pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the returning officer. He was sentenced to 3 years and 7 months on 8 April 2005 and in Guildford, a councillor was jailed for four months in April 2004 for forging ballot papers in a local election.
|Offence description: tampering with nomination and|
ballot papers etc. making false declarations as to
election expenses, bribery, treating, undue influence
and personation offences
|Persons proceeded against||Persons found guilty|
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many customers have responded to the invitation to move to the direct payment of pensions and benefits stating that they couldnot open or operate a bank or Post Office card account; 
We contacted all customers who were not paid by direct payment asking them to provide details of which account they would like their money paid into. Customers who did not provide account details (for whatever reason, including not being able to open or operate an account) were moved to cheque payment.
|Total customers (million)||16.1|
|Paid by cheque (million)||0.712|
|Paid by cheque (percentage)||4|
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has toevaluate the success of the exceptions scheme for people who are unable to use Post Office card accounts or basic bank accounts to receive their pensions or benefits. 
We believe that while cheques are a practical way of paying customers we also believe that, wherever possible, our customers should be encouraged to be paid direct into an account. That method of payment provides the safest, most reliable and best service.
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Gordon and (b) the North East of Scotland have been contacted about the move to the Direct Payment of benefits and pensions; and how many of those have (i) opted to receive their benefits or pension into a (A) bank account and (B) Post Office Card Account (ii) responded that direct payment is not a suitable method for the payment of benefits and (iii) not responded. 
All DWP customers have now been contacted about the move to Direct Payment and in Scotland we are now paying over 95 per cent. of customer accounts this way. Independent research has shown that there are very high levels of satisfaction among those customers who have transferred to Direct Payment.
Customers who did not respond to the initial invitation were contacted again and those who still did not provide account details were moved to cheque payment following confirmation of their on-going entitlement.
|All||Direct payment via bank account||Direct payment via post office card account||Cheque||Payable order|
|Airdrie and Shotts||33,010||20,125||11,230||1,590||65|
|Argyll and Bute||24,900||18,100||5,545||1,220||35|
|Banff and Buchan||28,205||19,255||7,900||1,030||20|
|Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross||20,580||14,335||5,315||905||25|
|Carrick Cumnock and Doon Valley||37,800||25,155||11,400||1,225||20|
|Clydebank and Milngavie||24,815||18,010||5,600||1,195||10|
|Coatbridge and Chryston||28,720||17,435||9,980||1,305||5|
|Cumbernauld and Kilsyth||23,135||16,790||5,530||800||10|
|Edinburgh East and Musselburgh||29,085||20,220||7,245||1,610||10|
|Edinburgh North and Leith||23,765||17,085||5,280||1,385||20|
|Galloway and Upper Nithsdale||29,780||20,820||8,015||915||30|
|Greenock and Inverclyde||27,605||18,465||7,865||1,250||20|
|Hamilton North and Bellshill||27,940||17,940||8,765||1,210||25|
|Inverness East Nairn and Lochaber||29,560||22,095||6,185||1,245||30|
|Kilmarnock and Loudoun||31,205||22,030||7,815||1,325||30|
|Motherwell and Wishaw||31,100||19,140||10,410||1,530||15|
|North East Fife||24,165||18,445||4,895||765||60|
|Orkney and Shetland||13,020||9,595||2,935||480||10|
|Ross Skye and Inverness West||26,890||19,295||6,335||1,220||40|
|Roxburgh and Berwickshire||22,730||17,000||5,085||625||25|
|Strathkelvin and Bearsden||27,090||21,600||4,645||820||25|
|Tweeddale Ettrick and Lauderdale||21,890||16,870||4,385||615||20|
|West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine||20,935||16,290||4,115||520||15|
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