§ Mr. McNamara
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will break down by religious belief(a) the prison population and (b) the population as a whole. 
§ Mr. Boateng
On 30 June 1999, there were 64,529 prisoners in England and Wales. Information on inmates' religious affiliation is recorded as a standard part of the reception process on entry into prison.
Of the inmates, 42 per cent. were Anglican, 17.5 per cent. were Roman Catholic and 3 per cent. belonged to other Christian denominations. Further, 7 per cent. were Muslim, 1.5 per cent. were Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh and 1 per cent. belonged to other religions. The remaining 28 per cent. of the population did not profess to belong to any religion.
This information is also published in "Prison Statistics England and Wales" (Table 6.6 of the 1999 edition, Cm 4805) copies of which are in the Library.
Information on the religious composition of the general population is currently available only through the British social attitudes survey, which is conducted annually. This is a sample survey of 3,500 randomly chosen households in Great Britain, of whom 3,143 responded to the following question: "Do you regard yourself as belonging to any particular religion?"
In 1999, the responses were as follows: 27 per cent. were Anglican, 9 per cent. were Roman Catholic and 16 per cent. belonged to other Christian denominations. Further, 1.5 per cent. were Muslim, 1 per cent. were Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh and 0.6 per cent. belonged to other religions.
Forty-four per cent. of the sample claimed no religion. One per cent. refused to divulge their religion or did not answer.32W
The information for 1999 is published in Appendix III of "British Social Attitudes—The 17th Report" (2000), a copy of which is available in the Library.