Voter ID and Shout Out UK

A few months ago there was a change in how elections are run in this country, when the Elections Act 2022 came into force

The Act bought in a wide range of changes that will have an impact in London including removing second preference voting in Mayoral contests, but arguably the biggest change was the introduction of compulsory voter ID.

This was trialled in the local elections in May this year to mixed success. The Electoral Commission’s full report is not due out till September but their initial findings have been so troubling that they have released an interim report.  This can be found here. The biggest takeaway for me from this was that 14,000 people were not able to vote as a direct result of these changes.

The most significant reason for this does seems to have been lack of awareness of the new rules – only 84% of people knew about the new requirements according to the interim report. I would here quote a family member who when reminded of the need to bring ID said ‘well I never have to in the past’.

Another issue which is of particular concern for us in 4in10 however is unequal access to the right forms of ID. The House of Commons Library produced a report in which they said:

‘The proportion of respondents to the Electoral Commission’s Public Opinion Tracker 2022 who did not have a suitable form of ID for voting was higher among more disadvantaged groups. 14% of unemployed people, 10-17% of those living in rented local authority or housing association accommodation and 7% of people with lower levels of education did not have a suitable form of ID.’

Indeed the interim report found that two of the groups were awareness was lowest was among younger age groups (18 to 24-year-olds) and Black and minority ethnic communities which were both at 82%.


Valid forms of ID

The other issue that continues to be of concern is the types of valid ID. The list of ID that is accepted can be found here.

If you have a look at this list, one thing that becomes immediately clear is that the majority, if not all, of the options available cost money to obtain – a passport for example costs a minimum of £90 once you take into account the cost of the photo.

Some would then counter with the fact that in theory you can obtain a ‘free’ form of ID from your council but even this isn’t completely free as you are expected to bring a passport style photograph with you.

For some families that are already having to choose between heating and eating, paying for a photo to be produced and then spending time finding and filling in a complicated form simply can’t be a priority.

This can be shown in that awareness and take-up of the Voter Authority Certificate (a free voter ID document you can apply for) was low with only 89,500 certificates being issued around the whole Country according to the Electoral Commission’s interim report.


The London Context

London already has one of the lowest voter registration rates in the UK and these changes has the potential to make this situation considerably worse.

There are many reasons for this but one of the biggest is the high proportion of ethnic minority communities in London. Voter registration tends to be lower in ethnic minority communities. This is the case for many reasons, including in particular insecure, short term housing but no matter what the cause the result remains the same.

We at 4in10 are concerned that unless more is done to raise awareness of the new rules and to make it easier and cheaper to obtain the necessary ID, then Londoners who are already at most at risk of being disenfranchised will be denied the right to vote.

That is why over the last few months we have been supporting Shout Out UK who have been leading the public awareness campaign on this issue and we will continue to do so.

We are asking our membership to help us and Shout Out UK by spreading the word about it and where possible help people to get the ID that they need. Find out how here.

Spotlight on 4in10 Member Whizz-kids


How are you helping to tackle child poverty in London?

We work to support young wheelchair users through 3 main strategies – Mobile, Enabled, Included. All of which have an impact upon the potential for poverty faced by young Londoners with a disability.

We enable young people to have a chance to have a childhood through our free clubs and programmes, aimed to break the isolation of disability, and give the young people confidence, social skills and a group of friends. At no cost to the family, these can help to tackle the mental impacts of financial deprivation. For young people who are older, we also supply free Employability skill and work placement with our network of partners to provide the launchpad for young wheelchair users to beat the employment gap, and to aid in systemic change to a less impoverished disabled generation.

Tell us something you are excited about?

Morph! Yes, Morph! This year across the summer, Whizz-Kidz has teamed up with Wild in Art and Aardman Animations to do the first step-free Art Trail within London. The trail will have 50+ 6ft high Morph sculptures painted and designed running down the Southbank from Tower Bridge then across past St Pauls and into the city. Alongside the “big” Morphs will be “gaggles” of ‘Mini’ Morphs, designed and painted by schools to support the trail, and of course to support Whizz-Kidz.

Pop along between June and August to see Morph having an “Epic Adventure” in London!

Share with our members something positive about your organisation’s achievement or service?

It has been shown repeatedly that the right wheelchair can a big impact on a young person, both mentally and physically, allowing them to access education, recreation and employment with a greater ease and confidence. Through the Mobile strategy, Whizz-Kidz supported approx. 1,000 families through our clinical services, of which near 1/3 were from the most deprived parts of England, helping to alleviate disability related costs averaging £2,400 per piece of equipment, whilst giving a young person the same chances and childhood of non-disabled children.

What can other network members learn from you or find out more about through you?

Our work to make our young people more included starts and ends at their voice, aims and ambitions. The Kidz Board, a group of 12 young people that help to guide and steer the organisation onto topics that are concerning to them as young disabled people, has allowed us to look at the issues around poverty and financial deficit of the disabled community from all  the angles impacting their daily lives. Examples have included the non-standardised “disabled bus pass”, longer journey times due to inadequate higher education accommodations, the job market, social activities, the role of assistance dogs and many more – all of which have a financial impact on young person and their family.


What would most help you achieve your goals?

Whilst of course, funding is always helpful to a charity, we are always looking to be raising awareness of the additional issues faced by Young Wheelchair Users, as quite often they go unnoticed. Partners committing to having Disability Awareness provided by people with lived experience, or work with people with lived experience to open their horizons, and break the misconceptions around disability. The young people that we work with also need people to provide them with the opportunities to succeed, whether that is in a social setting through supporting our clubs, or a employability setting supporting Work Placements and Employability Skills Sessions. 

Show these young people that they have a future just like anyone else.


Why did you join 4in10? What do you enjoy about being part of the 4in10 network?

We joined 4in10 as we have become rapidly aware of the additional effects of having a disability on the Cost of Living, and Child Poverty issues currently within the UK, and London. As an organisation that helps to support these young people, we know that we need to be connected to others fighting this issue as well. A candle is dim, but a handful can become a lighthouse, after all.

It is great to be part of a group of organisations looking to tackle this issue within London, a city often shown by its tourist-y bits and not some of the areas of great deprivation and be able to talk about the work we are doing, and ask to help from others on the topic, and campaigns we are running.

To connect with other groups who are interested in childcare and child poverty. So far its been really useful, thank you!