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GOVERNMENT FACES CENSUS INQUIRY

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The government is facing a commons inquiry into the running of this year's census amid claims that the level of com...
The government is facing a commons inquiry into the running of this year's census amid claims that the level of compliance was the lowest ever and senior ministers did not vet the questions on the form properly, reported Sunday Business (p14).

The cross-party treasury sub-committee is set to announce that it intends to call key witnesses to uncover the exact cost of the census.

One of the biggest controversies is over the wording of questions. One, under the title of 'cultural background', had options for Scottish, British or Irish, but not for English or Welsh.

And the Mail on Sunday (p55) claims that 100 face prosecution for not returning their census forms.

Three people have already been prosecuted and fined up to£1,000 (see LGCnet) and about 100 have been summoned to court for failure to submit a form.

While precise figures are not available, the number of households which have failed to return forms officially stands at 5% - or about one million households.

Despite official claims, the census is likely to have large gaps, making it impossible to use the data to plan schools, hospitals, transport and other developments. This would make it the biggest failure since census began in Britain 200 years ago.

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