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UK government plans to require compulsory ID for voting have been described as a “Tory ploy that would disenfranchise the poorest” – with more than half of adults living in low-income households not owning a full driving licence.

The UK government announced plans late last year to pilot compulsory ID for voting. Local authorities will trial different forms of ID, including driving licences, passports and utility bills. The plans were criticised by the Electoral Reform Commission as a “blunt instrument”.

Latest figures available to the Scottish Government show that possession of a full driving licence increases with income – with 45 per cent of adults living in low-income households (net annual household income of up to £10,000) held a full driving licence, increasing to 89 per cent of those in high-income households (net annual household income of over £40,000). 32% of adults in Scotland do not have a driving licence.

Commenting, SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said:

“The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. It’s a right that people have fought to protect and no politician should get in the way of the public exercising that right. 

“The evidence is clear that ownership of photo ID is directly related to household income, and these changes would disproportionately affect low-income voters most, especially in constituencies like mine where high levels of deprivation prevail.

“After the changes to individual voter registration saw hundreds of thousands drop off the register, these plans look like the latest Westminster ploy to disenfranchise the poorest.”

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