The Cabinet Office has issued guidance for Returning Officers on contingency preparations for European Parliament Elections.
The advice makes clear, until the Statutory Instrument is laid we will not know exactly what can be claimed, but the assumption is that it is likely to be limited to unavoidable expenditure, such as deposits to secure polling stations, but not the prepayment of costs which wouldn’t occur should the elections not happen.
The Cabinet Office’s full advice is:
“Following Friday’s vote in the House of Commons, the opportunity to guarantee that the UK would not participate in EP elections has been removed.
Cabinet Office is therefore confirming that Returning Officers will be reimbursed in the usual way for any expenditure on activity that is necessarily undertaken, at this stage and in the coming weeks, to prepare for the possibility of European Parliamentary elections on Thursday 23 May 2019. An Order setting the Appointed Day of Poll would be required under the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002 to hold elections.
Returning Officers will want to be particularly mindful of the need to use public money appropriately. This is particularly the case in the current circumstances. For example, thought should be given to what actions are strictly necessary ahead of the start of an election timetable and what can be undertaken on a contingency basis given that circumstances may continue to change.
A Statutory Instrument will be made in due course, which will confirm the legal basis for Cabinet Office to reimburse Returning Officers for expenditure necessarily incurred. Claims for reimbursement will be made through the Elections Claims Unit in the usual way.”