A general election is a time for everyone in the UK to choose their MP. So you may be wondering when the next general election is.
We break down how frequently general elections are held, what you need to do to get yourself registered to vote and how doing so could actually help your personal finances.
When is the next general election?
Previously, it was up to the Queen to dissolve parliament for a general election. And this would usually be done at the request of the Prime Minister.
But in 2011 the Fixed-term Parliament Act was introduced. This now means parliament is automatically dissolved after five years.
As a result, it means that the next general election will take place on Thursday 2 May 2024.
Can there be an election before then?
This is where UK politics can seem a bit confusing. While a general election will automatically take place every five years, the House of Commons can decide to call a general election earlier than that.
This happened in 2017 and in 2019, largely as a result of Brexit stalemates in parliament.
How do I vote in a general election?
In order to vote in a general election, you first need to register.
To be eligible to vote you need to be aged 16 or over (or 14 or over in Scotland and Wales*) and one of the following:
- A British citizen
- An Irish citizen
- A Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
- A citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission
*You can only vote when you are 18 (or 16 for some elections in Scotland and Wales), but you can register before that.
You only need to register once, and you can do it online or by filling out a paper form.
When a general election rolls around, you can then vote in person at a polling station, submit a postal vote or ask someone else to be your proxy.
How can registering to vote help my finances?
You may not know this, but being registered on the electoral roll can improve your credit score.
Lenders use the electoral register to check your name and address details. Understandably, if they are going to lend you money, they want to know you are who you say you are.
So if you are not registered to vote in the next general election, this could have a negative impact on your credit score.
Why is having a good credit score important?
Having a good credit score means that you can access the most competitive finance deals around.
Are you looking for a 0% purchases credit card? If you have a good credit score, you are more likely to qualify for the cards with longer interest-free periods.
Trying to get a mortgage? Banks and building societies will look at your credit score when assessing your mortgage application. So having a good credit score puts you in a stronger position.
Obviously, being registered to vote in the next general election isn’t the only thing your credit score is based upon. It also looks at your credit history, your current level of debt and whether or not you have missed any payments.
But if you are looking for a way to improve your credit score, registering to vote can be a simple first step to take.
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