BARNSLEY Council leader Sir Steve Houghton said the turnout at this year’s local and parish elections was ‘significantly lower’ than last time round.

At the previous local elections, 47,839 people voted out of a total of 184,857 who were eligible - a turnout of 25.88 per cent.

Last week, 45,569 voted out of a total of 184,374 - a turnout of 24.72 per cent.

However, with changes to the way in which people could vote coming into force, this had an impact.

Coun Sir Steve Houghton told the Chronicle the requirement of photo identification at polling stations reduced the total number of voters, ultimately lowering the turnout.

“We definitely believe the turnout was lower this year due to the newly-introduced rule of needing to bring photo ID to be able to vote,” he said.

“At least five per cent of people from each of the 21 wards missed out on voting and we know that the photo ID requirement had a lot to do with that.

“Accepted forms of ID included a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport, a UK or EEA driver’s licence, and some concessionary travel passes, including an older person’s bus pass - but not everyone has one of those.

“There was a number of people across the borough who didn’t have a form of appropriate ID which consequently meant they had to miss out.

“If the requirement hadn’t been brought in in January, we believe the number of voters would have been higher and the turnout would have been more - so it is frustrating in a way.

“But generally, we are all delighted with the results - it was a huge win for Labour and I’m pleased with the outcome.”