Letters - October 16, 2013

Privacy concern Should councils be allowed to sell the electoral register to marketing companies and does this discourage some from voting?
Privacy concern Should councils be allowed to sell the electoral register to marketing companies and does this discourage some from voting?
Have your say

Fears over privacy


In regard to protecting people’s privacy, councils have no say in selling the electoral register.

It probably costs more to administer than they bring in through charges but threats of legal action mean they can do little to assist residents.

There is not widespread awareness or understanding of why there are two versions of the electoral roll.

This confusion exacerbates the fundamental privacy issue with councils being mandated to make available for purchase the names and addresses of those who do not opt-out.

That is a law for Parliament to change, and it should do so at the soonest opportunity.

Between 2007 and 2012, more than 2,700 different organisations and individuals purchased the edited register, with some local authorities seeing far higher levels of use.

Four councils sold the edited register to more than 50 buyers while 19 councils sold the edited register to between 25 and 49 buyers.

The sale of personal information by public authorities, particularly for marketing purposes, is something that should never be routine.

It undermines trust and confidence in the wider 
public sector’s ability to protect people’s privacy and potentially deters people from engaging in a critical part of our democracy.

This doesn’t mean the electoral roll shouldn’t be accessible to the public, but the current situation is not one designed to bolster our democracy.

I wholly agree with the Electoral Commission, the Local Government Association and The Association of Electoral Administrators that the edited register should be abolished.

I believe the existence of the edited register impacts on election participation as people are concerned about their personal information being shared for marketing purposes and undermining trust in the electoral registration system.

I had already previously opted out of the edited electoral roll therefore the council will not use my personal information for direct marketing and/or to share my personal details with third parties and will ensure my choice is specifically marked on any future annual registration forms sent to me in the future.

If you have already completed and returned your Register of Electors 2014 form and not opted out of the edited electoral roll, do not despair – simply write a short letter to your council advising them of your revised instructions.

Garry Richardson

Catterall Close



8s or £8?

Your headline in Memory Lane (Saturday, October 12), is somewhat misleading, particularly to the ‘younger post-decimalisation generation’ who would not possibly equate the cost of that journey upon a Blackpool tripper at that time.

Yes eight shillings does equate to 40p in today’s currency, which indeed would not get you very far, and certainly not to Morecambe or even Southport (as advertised in the photograph) and presumably home again.

But equate that 8s into today’s true value, with inflation added, and you can multiply it by a factor of what 20 or so, and you get about £8, which would be a reasonable price for a tripper to find in those days.

Such a venture needed some thought on the day before embarking.

Colin Bent


* Footnote: In Memory Lane we do have a policy of when mentioning the cost of something in £.s.d we then put the decimal conversion in brackets afterwards so that all readers are familiar with the amount.

Cost of showzam ball

Too much

Every year since Showzam Carnival Ball first came to the Tower Ballroom, my husband and I with friends have enjoyed a great evening.

Last February we had to pay an extra £10 for a reserved table, which brought the ticket price for four people to £70, (tickets were £15 if bought before the end of December).

I read (Gazette October 10) that next February the price will be £25 standing, and a wacking £130 for a table of four.

I am speechless, and certainly will not be supporting this event.

I am appalled and furious, how can this increase possibly be justified?

Maybe because the ballroom was jam packed this year, someone is trying the lessen the numbers.

I am a very angry resident, and my eight friends from Yorkshire will not be attending either.

Linda Greatorex

(by email)

Poo bags discarded

Don’t leave

It’s great to see dog walkers using ‘poo bags’ to scoop up their pets’ mess during walks in our local parks and open spaces.

But why then, when there is not a bin nearby, do some people just discard the bags on the ground in places?

This is virtually as bad as not cleaning up in the first place.

Name and address supplied