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700,000 Scottish households face £1,000 fines if they don’t return their census responses



Approximately 700,000 Scottish households have still not submitted their census response – and have one week left to avoid facing a £1,000 fine.

The census closes on May 1 and the National Records of Scotland warns that anyone who hasn’t submitted their responses could face prosecution or a fine of up to £1,000.

MSP Angus Robertson, cabinet secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, warned: “It’s essential that every householder in Scotland completes the census. It’s also your legal responsibility.”

The National Records of Scotland office says that two million households have submitted their response so far, with census letters being sent to more than 2.7m properties representing 5.5m Scots. The survey, conducted once every decade, collects information which governments, both north and south of the border, use to make sure they provide the right services for people.

Census day in Scotland was March 20 and covered a range of topics including household relationships, health, type of accommodation, age, and employment. New questions in this year’s census are on the use of British Sign Language, passports held, sexual orientation and trans status.

Mr Robertson urged people to complete and return their census if they have not done so already. “The information gathered is vital in shaping important services in your community, from the building of new schools and hospitals to improving transport links and understanding health needs,” he said.

“We know that there are people who have begun the census online but haven’t completed it and that others have requested a paper copy but haven’t yet returned it. If this applies to you, please act now and use the support available to ensure we receive your response by the deadline.”

A census has been taken every 10 years in Scotland since 1801, apart from in 1941 as the Second World War raged on, and in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. England, Wales and Northern Ireland held their survey in March 2021. Anyone who has moved from another part of the United Kingdom to Scotland still has to complete the form.

Paul Lowe, chief executive of National Records of Scotland, said: “Thank you to the two million households who have already submitted their response. For anyone that still hasn’t, I would urge you to act now. Help and support to complete your census is available on our website census.gov.scot or via our free helpline 0800 030 8308. Paper forms are still available on request for those who need them.”

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