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Independence referendum costs published

Published: 4 Sep 2015 13:28

Final figures reflect ‘huge and unprecedented’ turnout.

The total costs of running the 2014 independence referendum have been published.

In a written answer to Parliament, Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed that the final cost was £15.8 million.

This is higher than the indicative cost of running the referendum set out in the Financial Memorandum which accompanied the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill.

This additional expenditure was due to the very high turnout at the referendum. In anticipation of a high turnout, the Chief Counting Officer provided guidance to counting officers on issues such as:

  • printing additional ballot papers, to ensure that replacement ballot papers were available to cover for any damaged or misprinted ballot papers, and
  • limiting the number of electors attending individual polling stations, to avoid queues.

In addition, additional staff were employed at count centres in order to ensure a prompt result.

These, and other similar sensible contingency measures, added to costs but ensured that the poll ran smoothly on the day.

Mr Swinney said:

"The independence referendum was a triumph for democracy and participation, with the highest turnout of any UK ballot for over a century.

"That huge and unprecedented modern turnout of almost 85 per cent saw more than 3.6 million people across Scotland cast their votes on the nation's future.

"The referendum also extended the right to vote to over 100,000 16 and 17 year-olds and engaged many older people to vote for the first time in their lives.

"While the Scottish Government anticipated a very high turnout, potentially of more than 80 per cent, these final costs reflect the significant, additional work done by the Chief Counting Officer, counting officers and electoral registration officers to make sure as many people as possible registered to vote, the ballot ran smoothly and a result was declared as quickly as possible."

Notes to editors

The two Parliamentary questions answered today are: