2001 Census

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 27 February 2003.

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Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party 2:30, 27 February 2003

To ask the Scottish Executive what concerns it has about the key statistics contained in the 2001 Census. (S1O-6545)

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

Detailed results from the 2001 census were released by the Registrar General for Scotland in two reports on 13 February 2003.

The census contains a large amount of detailed and useful information that will form a vital part of the evidence base for future Executive policies. As the reports have just been released, it would be premature to comment until more detailed analysis has been undertaken.

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I point the minister to a key statistic that will be of particular concern to him. Does he agree that it is concerning that more than 40 per cent of Dundee men of working age are regarded as long-term unemployed, which means that they have not worked since 1999 or earlier? That is the highest figure in Scotland.

Does he agree that that is more evidence of the failure of the Labour-Liberal Government, and the failure of the Labour council in Dundee to tackle the core economic problems that face the city?

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

It will come as no surprise to Shona Robison when I say that I do not agree. The Executive has taken a range of economic and industrial initiatives to address unemployment. The fact that unemployment in Scotland is below 100,000 for the first time in a generation should not be minimised.

To be fair, Shona Robison makes an important point in as much as it shows the importance of the census data, and it shows that we can get detailed breakdowns. That allows us to identify where there is most need and where our policies should be directed when we develop future policies.

Photo of John Young John Young Conservative

Is the Deputy First Minister aware that in "Scotland's Census 2001: The Registrar General's Report to the Scottish Parliament" there are seven different categories of person set out on page 10? One category that does not appear to be included is potential asylum seekers who have not yet been processed. Can the Deputy First Minister help me out with that matter because, in essence, those people do not come under any of the categories that are included; for example, people who have "another usual address" on census day, or people who live

"in a special establishment or residential home"—

Photo of John Young John Young Conservative

Could the Deputy First Minister assist me on that question please?

Photo of Jim Wallace Jim Wallace Liberal Democrat

No, with regret, I cannot. However, I will look into the matter and if I can help, I will.