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Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans the Department has to review the 100 year closure clause on individual census forms; and if he will make a statement. [115469]

It is Government policy that census returns are closed to public inspection for 100 years. This was restated in the White Paper "The 2001 Census of Population 2001" (Cm 4253) para. 121, March 1999.

"Public confidence in the security and confidentiality of the information given in the census is paramount. Consequently, it is not intended that the Government's plans to revise legislation relating to greater access to public records, set out in White Paper proposals for a Freedom of Information Act, should affect the current period of closure for census records.'