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Census

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 March (WA 173-4), what are the "sensitivities" in Scotland relating to the wording of the category "Gypsy/Irish Traveller"; why those sensitivities do not occur or apply in England; and what are the numbers and percentages of Polish nationals in each part of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach Conservative

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Laird, dated April 2011.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking: (i) further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 March (WA 173-4), what are the "sensitivities" in Scotland relating to the wording of the category "Gypsy/Irish Traveller"; why those sensitivities do not occur or apply in England; and, (ii) what are the numbers and percentages of Polish nationals in each part of the United Kingdom. (HL8121)

(i) In England and Wales there was strong evidence of need for information on Gypsies and Irish Travellers to be collected in the 2011 Census. "Irish Travellers" are recognised as a distinct group by that name under Race Relations Act case law and the term is now widely recognised and more commonly used by members of those communities themselves. However, the term "Irish Traveller" which is intended to specifically exclude "New Age travellers" in England and Wales is not generally used in Scotland. The census in Scotland is a devolved matter, and the responsibility for the wording of the questions there rests with the Scottish Government. The Registrar General for Scotland has advised that the term "Gypsy/Traveller" is used in the census in Scotland instead because that is the specific term that was used by the Scottish Parliament when it was agreed that such people should be treated as a separate ethnic group for race relations purposes.

(ii) The Office for National Statistics collects data on nationality from the Annual Population Survey (APS) which is a household survey of residents of the UK. The latest available estimates of Polish nationals relate to the 12-month period of July 2009 to June 2010 and are provided for each constituent country of the UK in the table below. Percentages have been created using the total estimated resident population for each constituent country of the UK, derived from the APS as a denominator. It should be noted that the survey does not include people living in most types of communal establishment.

Table 1: Polish Nationality by Countries of the UK
Average 12 months-June 2010 Thousands
estimate Confidence Interval +/- Percentage
United Kingdom 541 31 0.9
England 454 31 0.9
Wales 15 3 0.5
Scotland 56 8 1.1
Northern Ireland 17 6 1.0

Source: Annual Population Survey (APS)/Labour Force Survey (LFS), ONS

Totals may not sum due to rounding

Confidence interval as shown here is a range within which the true value of a population count is likely to lie, and in this case, at the 95 per cent level, is defined as 1.96 x standard error. The standard error is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample.

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