§ Mr. Ottaway
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the basis is for the statement on the census form concerning the voluntary completion of the question concerning religion. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson 175W
of religion. The Act also removes the liability to the penalty for anyone refusing or neglecting to state any such particulars. This has the effect of making any question on religion included in the census voluntary. A statement to that effect is included in the question on the form itself.
§ Mr. Ottaway
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the anticipated non-response rates in the forthcoming census are. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Richard Ottaway, dated 20 March 2001:
As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what is the anticipated non-response rate in the forthcoming census. (154670)
The aim for the 2001 Census is to achieve a 100 per cent. count. Having said that I am fully aware of the problems associated with carrying out a census enumeration in some areas, particularly where there are high levels of ethnic minority populations, multi-occupied accommodation, poorer quality housing estates and more modern-style apartments protected by entryphone and other security systems. Many of the new measures and initiatives developed for the 2001 Census are aimed at combating these very difficulties.
A particular success in this area is the new Local Community Liaison Programme in which the ONS is working in partnership with minority groups, charitable organisations and local and health authorities in order to encourage participation in the Census and to help identify sources of potential enumerators.
The adoption of mail-back for the first time as the prime collection methodology in a census in England and Wales will facilitate the concentration of field resources in those areas where lower levels of response are experienced and where additional effort may be required.
An extensive publicity campaign for the 2001 Census in England and Wales, under the banner logo "Count Me In" aims to encourage universal self-inclusion in the Census. In addition to the main campaign there are several other promotions and initiatives being developed to encourage public participation in the Census in an attempt to improve coverage, particularly among those sectors of the community where there was significant under-enumeration in the 1991 Census. Separate drives have been aimed at recruiting enumerators in local areas and to raise the profile of the Census.
The extent and nature of non-response to the Census will be more accurately assessed this time than ever before by conducting an extensive separate follow-up Census Coverage Survey to be carried out by interviewing around 300,000 households shortly after the Census enumeration is completed. Results from this voluntary follow-up survey will be used, in conjunction with the Census data itself, to help produce a consistent set out census-based counts that will form the new base for the series of annual mid-year population estimates for local and health authorities.