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Volume 706: debated on Thursday 11 December 2008


My honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Kevin Brennan), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government propose that, subject to parliamentary approval, a census of population should be taken in England and Wales on 27 March 2011.

I am pleased to announce the publication of a White Paper Helping to Shape Tomorrow: The 2011 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales [Cm 7513], which sets out the UK Statistics Authority’s detailed proposals for the census.

The White Paper is intended to promote public discussion of the proposals, which will affect every household and person in England and Wales.

The White Paper sets out the strategic aims for the census, explains the need for it, and deals with matters of public concern such as data security and confidentiality.

Government will use the information to form policy, to plan services for specific groups of people and, especially, to distribute resources effectively to local and health authorities to enable them to direct resources where they are needed.

The design for the new census builds upon the lessons learnt from the 2001 census, and takes account of the formal recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the National Audit Office and the former Statistics Commission.

After a census rehearsal in October 2009 and consultation with the Welsh Assembly Ministers, the Government will lay before Parliament an Order in Council for approval in accordance with the Census Act 1920.

The White Paper is also being presented to the National Assembly for Wales.

Copies of the White Paper have been placed in the Libraries.

The White Paper is also available on the UK Statistics Authority website at