The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl, Director of Macroeconomics and National Accounts, to Lord Laird, dated June 2008.
The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Question asking whether respondents to the next census can specify Ulster Scots as their racial background and language. I am replying in her absence. (HL4115)
The proposed 2011 census ethnic group question in England and Wales includes a “write-in” option within each of the main ethnic groupings, which would provide the opportunity for people to describe their ethnic background in whatever way they wish. We are not planning a specific “tick box” for Ulster Scots.
The language question is currently being tested. The current form of the question includes a write-in option for respondents to describe their main language in whatever way they wish.
However, it is not possible to confirm what the 2011 census questions and response categories will be until the consultation and testing programme is complete and formal approval of the census is given by Parliament in 2010. A White Paper setting out the UK Statistics Authority proposals, including the wording of any questions about ethnicity, is scheduled to be published in autumn 2008.
Inquiries about the use of Ulster Scots in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the census is a devolved matter, should be addressed to the respective registrars general.