Census (Amendment) Bill [Lords] — 20 Jun 2000

Order for Second Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

The purpose of the Bill is to make a modest change to the Census Act 1920 so that a question on religious affiliation can be included in the next census of population in England and Wales in April 2001. This is necessary because, these days, many more people choose to identify themselves in respect of their religion or their culture, but there are no reliable figures for ethnic sub-groups or for religion. The 2001 census provides a unique opportunity to collect information from groups who increasingly prefer to identify themselves primarily in this way.

any other matters with respect to which it is desirable to obtain statistical information with a view to ascertaining the social or civil condition of the population

In Wales the words "Church in Wales" will be substituted for the words "Church of England" within the Christian category.

Governments do not usually find time for private Members' Bills.

However, the Bill is believed to be uncontroversial.

went through the House of Lords without any difficulty.

The issue it addresses was raised after the main census legislation had gone through.

How careless--the Government had obviously taken their eye off the ball. She added that

there was no reason to anticipate that there would be a difficulty in the House of Commons.

The matter is one in which there is considerable public interest--[ Official Report , 15 June 2000; Vol. 351, c. 1106.]

Central government, local and health authorities, commercial business and the professions need reliable information on the number and characteristics of people and households if they are to conduct many of their activities effectively.

The Government, in particular, needs this kind of information to form policy, to plan services for specific groups of people and to distribute resources effectively to local and health authorities to enable them to direct resources to where they are needed.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?

Surely people are human beings whether they are Jewish, Hindu, Christian or anything else. In health terms, what, precisely, is the difference?

The topics proposed for the Census are those that have been shown to be most needed by central and local government, the health service, academics, businesses and professional organisations.

to the question would help provide information which would supplement the output from the ethnic group question by identifying ethnic minority sub-groups, particularly those originating from the Indian sub-continent. In turn, this will provide baseline figures against which the Government can monitor possible racial disadvantage and social exclusion within particular minority groups.

no person shall be liable to a penalty . . . for refusing or neglecting to state any particulars . . .

Completion of the Census form is compulsory under the Census Act 1920. If you refuse to complete it, or give false information, you may be liable to a fine. This liability does not apply to Question 10 on religion.

The compulsory requirement to provide information to a census (including sex, marital status, place of birth)

was found to be an interference with private and family life.

Church of England, Catholic, Protestant and all other Christian denominations.

a member or follower of any of the western Christian Churches that are separate from the Roman Catholic Church in accordance with the principles of the Reformation.

I have reflected with care on what your Lordships have had to say . . . I feel that we should take the arguments about a voluntary question seriously. In the interests of progressing the matter smoothly, and so that, as the noble Earl and other noble Lords wished, the Bill may pass to another place in a fit condition, I am proposing an amendment which would have the effect of removing the liability to a penalty under Section 8 of the Census Act--[ Official Report, House of Lords , 3 February 2000; Vol. 609, c. 364.]

be the most consoling gratification to every lover of his country.

Government, local and health authorities, commercial businesses and the professions need reliable information on the number and characteristics of people and households if they are to conduct many of their activities effectively. This need is currently best met by conducting a census every ten years covering the whole of the population, and by updating the population estimates each year between censuses using data from . . . births, marriages and deaths . . . and . . . estimates of migration.

However, over time, such data, especially on migration, accumulate inaccuracies, and a regular census is necessary to provide information for revising the annual population estimates.

there will be a slight increase in the number of questions compared with the 1991 Census.

significant changes from 1991 in the questions proposed are: new individual questions on general health, provision of unpaid personal care, time since last paid employment, size of employer's organisation

the Government will continue to consider whether or not to include a question on income, having regard to the risks to the Census as a whole in so doing . . . the Government will make final proposals on whether or not the question should be included in the Census itself once research into possible means of securing relevant information from alternative sources has been completed.

no person shall be liable to a penalty under subsection (1) for refusing or neglecting to state any particulars in respect of religion.

making a question voluntary seriously affects the response not only to the question itself where response bias could devalue the information obtained, but also as regards other questions because people are confused about some questions being voluntary and others being compulsory.--[ Official Report, House of Lords , 27 January 2000; Vol. 608, c. 1717.]

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:--

The House divided: Ayes 194, Noes 10.

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All Votes Cast - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party are marked in red. Also shows which MPs were ministers at the time of this vote. You can also see every eligible MP including those who did not vote in this division.

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NameConstituencyPartyVote
Peter AtkinsonHexhamConaye
Mr Stephen DayCheadleConaye
John HayesSouth Holland and The DeepingsCon (front bench)aye
Oliver HealdNorth East HertfordshireCon (front bench)aye
David LidingtonAylesburyCon (front bench)aye
Richard OttawayCroydon SouthCon (front bench)aye
John RandallUxbridgeCon (front bench)aye
Mr Jonathan SayeedMid BedfordshireConaye
Christopher ChopeChristchurchCon (front bench)no
David DavisHaltemprice and HowdenCon (front bench)no
Michael FabricantLichfieldCon (front bench)no
Eric ForthBromley and ChislehurstContellno
James GrayNorth WiltshireCon (front bench)no
Douglas HoggSleaford and North HykehamConno
Edward LeighGainsboroughCon (front bench)tellno
David MacleanPenrith and The BorderConno
Mr Patrick NichollsTeignbridgeConno
Owen PatersonNorth ShropshireCon (front bench)no
Desmond SwayneNew Forest WestCon (front bench)no
Nick AingerCarmarthen West and South PembrokeshireLabaye
Bob AinsworthCoventry North EastLab (minister)aye
Ms Candy AthertonFalmouth and CamborneLabaye
Charlotte AtkinsStaffordshire MoorlandsLabaye
Hugh BayleyCity of YorkLab (minister)aye
Hilary BennLeeds CentralLab (minister)aye
Mr Andrew BennettDenton and ReddishLabaye
Joe BentonBootleLabaye
Roger BerryKingswoodLabaye
Clive BettsSheffield, AttercliffeLab (minister)aye
Liz BlackmanErewashLabaye
Hazel BlearsSalfordLabaye
Bob BlizzardWaveneyLabaye
Mr Paul BoatengBrent SouthLab (minister)aye
David BorrowSouth RibbleLabaye
Mr Keith BradleyManchester, WithingtonLab (minister)aye
Mr Peter BradleyThe WrekinLabaye
Ben BradshawExeterLab (minister)aye
Russell BrownDumfriesLab (minister)aye
Richard BurdenBirmingham, NorthfieldLabaye
Colin BurgonElmetLabaye
Mr Jamie CannIpswichLabaye
Mr Ivor CaplinHoveLabaye
Martin CatonGowerLab (minister)aye
Ben ChapmanWirral SouthLabaye
David ChaytorBury NorthLabaye
Dr Lynda ClarkEdinburgh PentlandsLab (minister)aye
Charles ClarkeNorwich SouthLab (minister)aye
Mr Tony ClarkeNorthampton SouthLabaye
David ClellandTyne BridgeLab (minister)aye
Vernon CoakerGedlingLabaye
Harry CohenLeyton and WansteadLabaye
Mr Iain ColemanHammersmith and FulhamLabaye
Mr Tony ColmanPutneyLabaye
Michael ConnartyFalkirk EastLab (minister)aye
Jeremy CorbynIslington NorthLabaye
Jim CousinsNewcastle upon Tyne CentralLabaye
Professor Ross CranstonDudley NorthLab (minister)aye
David CrausbyBolton North EastLab (minister)aye
John CryerHornchurchLab (minister)aye
John CummingsEasingtonLabaye
Jim CunninghamCoventry SouthLab (minister)aye
Claire Curtis-ThomasCrosbyLabaye
Mr Tam DalyellLinlithgowLabaye
Mrs Valerie DaveyBristol WestLabaye
Ian DavidsonGlasgow PollokLab (minister)aye
Geraint DaviesCroydon CentralLab (minister)aye
Mr Terry DavisBirmingham, Hodge HillLabaye
Mr Hilton DawsonLancaster and WyreLabaye
Janet DeanBurtonLabaye
Jim DobbinHeywood and MiddletonLabaye
Brian H DonohoeCunninghame SouthLab (minister)aye
Jim DowdLewisham WestLab (minister)tellaye
David DrewStroudLab (minister)aye
Clive EffordElthamLab (minister)aye
Paul FlynnNewport WestLabaye
Michael FosterWorcesterLabaye
Michael Jabez FosterHastings and RyeLabaye
Mrs Maria FyfeGlasgow MaryhillLabaye
Bruce GeorgeWalsall SouthLabaye
Ian GibsonNorwich NorthLabaye
Paul GogginsWythenshawe and Sale EastLabaye
Mrs Eileen GordonRomfordLabaye
Mike HallWeaver ValeLab (minister)aye
Patrick HallBedfordLabaye
Fabian HamiltonLeeds North EastLab (minister)aye
Sylvia HealHalesowen and Rowley Regiswhilst Labaye
John HealeyWentworthLabaye
Mr Ivan HendersonHarwichLabaye
Stephen HepburnJarrowLab (minister)aye
John HeppellNottingham EastLabaye
Stephen HesfordWirral WestLabaye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLabaye
Mr Alan HowarthNewport EastLab (minister)aye
George HowarthKnowsley North and Sefton EastLab (minister)aye
Lindsay HoyleChorleyLab (minister)aye
Mr Kevin HughesDoncaster NorthLab (minister)aye
Mr Alan HurstBraintreeLabaye
Brian IddonBolton South EastLabaye
Mr David JamiesonPlymouth, DevonportLab (minister)aye
Brian JenkinsTamworthLabaye
Miss Melanie JohnsonWelwyn HatfieldLab (minister)aye
Ms Jenny JonesWolverhampton South WestLabaye
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLabaye
Martyn JonesClwyd SouthLabaye
Fraser KempHoughton and Washington EastLabaye
David KidneyStaffordLabaye
Peter KilfoyleLiverpool, WaltonLabaye
Mr Andy KingRugby and KenilworthLabaye
Ashok KumarMiddlesbrough South and East ClevelandLabaye
Stephen LadymanSouth ThanetLabaye
Bob LaxtonDerby NorthLabaye
David LepperBrighton, PavilionLabaye
Tom LevittHigh PeakLabaye
Ivan LewisBury SouthLabaye
Mr Terry LewisWorsleyLabaye
Martin LintonBatterseaLabaye
Tony LloydManchester CentralLabaye
Mr David LockWyre ForestLab (minister)aye
Andrew LoveEdmontonLab (minister)aye
Mr Calum MacDonaldNa h-Eileanan an IarLabaye
Fiona MactaggartSloughLabaye
Mrs Alice MahonHalifaxLabaye
Mr Paul MarsdenShrewsbury and AtchamLabaye
Thomas McAvoyGlasgow RutherglenLab (minister)aye
John Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLab (minister)aye
John McFallDumbartonLab (minister)aye
Anne McGuireStirlingLab (minister)aye
Shona McIsaacCleethorpesLabaye
Rosemary McKennaCumbernauld and KilsythLabaye
Tony McNultyHarrow EastLab (minister)aye
Gillian MerronLincolnLabaye
Alun MichaelCardiff South and PenarthLabaye
Andrew MillerEllesmere Port and NestonLabaye
Laura MoffattCrawleyLabaye
Julie MorganCardiff NorthLabaye
Chris MullinSunderland SouthLab (minister)aye
Denis MurphyWansbeckLabaye
Paul MurphyTorfaenLab (minister)aye
Doug NaysmithBristol North WestLabaye
Dan NorrisWansdykeLabaye
Mr Bill O'BrienNormantonLabaye
Mike O'BrienNorth WarwickshireLab (minister)aye
Bill OlnerNuneatonLabaye
Sandra OsborneAyrLabaye
Mr Colin PickthallWest LancashireLabaye
Mr Peter PikeBurnleyLabaye
James PlaskittWarwick and LeamingtonLabaye
Greg PopeHyndburnLab (minister)aye
Gordon PrenticePendleLabaye
Ken PurchaseWolverhampton North EastLabaye
Mr Lawrie QuinnScarborough and WhitbyLabaye
Mr Syd RapsonPortsmouth NorthLabaye
John ReidHamilton North and BellshillLab (minister)aye
Mr Ernie RossDundee WestLabaye
Frank RoyMotherwell and WishawLabaye
Chris RuaneVale of ClwydLab (minister)aye
Christine RussellCity of ChesterLabaye
Mohammad SarwarGlasgow GovanLabaye
Mr Malcolm SavidgeAberdeen NorthLabaye
Mr Phil SawfordKetteringLabaye
Jonathan R ShawChatham and AylesfordLabaye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabaye
Geraldine SmithMorecambe and LunesdaleLabaye
Jacqui SmithRedditchLab (minister)aye
Mr Llew SmithBlaenau GwentLabaye
Rachel SquireDunfermline WestLabaye
Mr Gerry SteinbergCity of DurhamLabaye
Mr George StevensonStoke-on-Trent SouthLabaye
Mr David StewartInverness East, Nairn and LochaberLabaye
Ian StewartEcclesLabaye
Howard StoateDartfordLabaye
Graham StringerManchester, BlackleyLab (minister)aye
Gisela StuartBirmingham, EdgbastonLab (minister)aye
Gerry SutcliffeBradford SouthLab (minister)aye
Mrs Ann TaylorDewsburyLab (minister)aye
David TaylorNorth West LeicestershireLabaye
Mr Peter Temple-MorrisLeominsterwhilst Labaye
Gareth ThomasHarrow WestLabaye
Stephen TimmsEast HamLab (minister)aye
Paddy TippingSherwoodLab (minister)aye
Don TouhigIslwynLab (minister)tellaye
Jon TrickettHemsworthLabaye
Paul TruswellPudseyLabaye
Mr Dennis TurnerWolverhampton South EastLab (minister)aye
Desmond TurnerBrighton, KemptownLabaye
Dr George TurnerNorth West NorfolkLabaye
Neil TurnerWiganLabaye
Derek TwiggHaltonLabaye
Rudi VisFinchley and Golders GreenLabaye
Robert WareingLiverpool, West DerbyLabaye
Dave WattsSt Helens NorthLab (minister)aye
Alan WhiteheadSouthampton, TestLabaye
Dr Alan WilliamsCarmarthen East and DinefwrLabaye
Mr Brian WilsonCunninghame NorthLab (minister)aye
Mike WoodBatley and SpenLabaye
Shaun WoodwardWitneywhilst Labaye
Mr Tony WorthingtonClydebank and MilngavieLabaye
Anthony D WrightGreat YarmouthLabaye
Tony WrightCannock ChaseLabaye
Edward DaveyKingston and SurbitonLDem (front bench)aye
Andrew GeorgeSt IvesLDem (front bench)aye
David HeathSomerton and FromeLDem (front bench)aye
Bob RussellColchesterLDem (front bench)aye
Robert SmithWest Aberdeenshire and KincardineLDem (front bench)aye
Steve WebbNorthavonLDem (front bench)aye
Dr Jenny TongeRichmond ParkLDemno
Mr Simon ThomasCeredigionPCaye
Mr Roy BeggsEast AntrimUUPaye

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