Headlines: October 7th, 2008

A special call centre has been set up for people in Greater Manchester who want to know more about a referendum to be held later this year on the future of transport in the area. The poll is due to take place across Greater Manchester in early December on the Transport Innovation proposals.

The new call centre will be open from nine to five on weekdays initially but will then be available on Saturdays nearer to the date of the deadline for voting. There will be no charge for calls and staff at the centre will provide general information about the timetable for the referendum timetable, explain how local people can complete and return ballot papers and answer any other questions residents may have.

In addition to the new centre, the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive will continue to operate its own free telephone helpline. Local authorities within the region will deal with inquiries about electoral registration.

Sir Neil McIntosh, the Returning Officer for the referendum said Greater Manchester residents were being presented with an important opportunity to express their views on the transport plans. “As Returning Officer, I am determined to ensure that everyone who is entitled to have their say is able to do so and that the process is as clear as possible. This call centre should help answer any queries which people have,” he said.

Voting papers for the referendum will be sent out in late November and the deadline for the return of completed ballot papers is December 11th. The results, which will be broken down by individual local authority areas, will be announced the following day.