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Census: British Kashmiris

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 5 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps have been taken to clarify the ethnic identity of British Kashmiris in the next census. [HL3960]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Dennis Roberts, Director of Registration and Corporate Services, to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, dated 5 June 2007, in the absence of the National Statistician.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps have been taken to clarify the ethnic identity of British Kashmiris in the next census. I am replying in her absence. (HL3960)

We are aware of requests from several different stakeholders for Kashmiri to be identified as an ethnic group in the 2011 census, and this is one of a range of issues that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is considering as part of our process of consultation and question development.

The ONS has carried out recent consultation on requirements for information on ethnicity and identity, and we are currently considering all the responses to this consultation. The relevant documents are available on the National Statistics website at

Space constraints mean that there are limits to the number of questions and tick-boxes that can be accommodated in the 2011 census. In particular, it will not be possible to have separate tick-boxes for all ethnic groups; however, space will be provided for people to write in their ethnic group if they consider it is not covered by the specific tick-boxes.

A White Paper setting out the Government's proposals, including the wording of any questions about ethnicity and identity, is scheduled to be published in 2008. However it will not be possible to confirm what questions and response categories are to be included in the 2011 census until the consultation and question testing programme is complete and formal approval is given by Parliament in 2010.