Pan­demic de­lays Scot­tish cen­sus un­til 2022

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - DISTRICT NEWS -

Plans to hold Scot­land’s next cen­sus next year have been put on hold un­til 2022.

In Oc­to­ber, Dum­friesshire res­i­dents in ru­ral and border com­mu­ni­ties took part in a re­hearsal to help the Na­tional Records of Scot­land (NRS) get ready for the pro­posed 2021 cen­sus.

The re­hearsal to test the planned cen­sus col­lec­tion in­volved around 18,000 house­holds from Mof­fat to Eas­triggs and from Dum­fries to Langholm.

Be­cause of the Covid-19 pan­demic next year’s cen­sus has been moved to March, 2022.

The change means that Scot­land’s cen­sus will now run to a dif­fer­ent timescale to the rest of the UK.

A cen­sus has been held in Scot­land ev­ery ten years since 1801, apart from 1941, and pro­vides in­for­ma­tion to in­form a range of de­ci­sions on schools, hos­pi­tals, roads and trans­port pro­vi­sion.

Paul Lowe from NRS said: “The cen­sus is a ma­jor lo­gis­ti­cal op­er­a­tion and the 12 months run­ning up to a cen­sus are vi­tal in plan­ning and test­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness and se­cu­rity of sys­tems and pro­cesses.

“Covid-19 re­stric­tions have de­layed or pre­vented many of these key ac­tiv­i­ties­from tak­ing place over re­cent months.

“This is the right de­ci­sion for Scot­land which will al­low us to un­der­take a high­qual­ity and safe cen­sus in 2022 that will pro­duce the rich data we need for many years to come. That re­mains our ab­so­lute pri­or­ity.”

Cabi­net sec­re­tary Fiona Hys­lop said: “This de­ci­sion was not taken lightly.

“The qual­ity of the cen­sus data must re­main ro­bust and by mov­ing to 2022 Na­tional Records of Scot­land can con­tinue to de­liver a cen­sus which en­sures the high­est pos­si­ble re­sponse rate from peo­ple across Scot­land to al­low govern­ment, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and key ser­vices plan for ev­ery el­e­ment of pub­lic life, from building homes to NHS sup­port.”

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