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Fine of 1,000 pounds if Britons fail to answer census queries

Posted by on February 22, 2011 0 Comment

London, Feb 22 (IANS) The British census, which would take place March 27, is “compulsory” and anyone failing to fill in the forms would be fined 1,000 pounds, a media report said.

The census would quiz people on who stays overnight at someone’s house.

The census, which would cost the government 482 million pounds, will include for the first time questions about civil partnerships, second homes and when migrants arrived and intended to leave, the Daily Telegraph reported.

People must also name guests – such as boyfriends and girlfriends – who stay the night of March 27, including their age, sex and usual address.

The census operation will involve 35,000 field staff, who will gather data from about 26 million households.

The 43-question survey included queries ranging from health to fluency in English, how people travel to work, job titles, educational qualification and work addresses.

Religion will remain the only non-compulsory question.

In the last census in 2001, some 400,000 declared they were Jedi Knights, a character in the “Star Wars” series.

Also for the first time, people would be able to fill in their forms online.

Daniel Hamilton, campaign director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “At 32 pages, the census includes intrusive questions on your proficiency in English, your health, when you last worked and the type of central heating you have.”

“The government has no need, and no right, to know this about you. It is also a monumental waste of time and money,” he said.

He condemned the “entirely hollow but nevertheless bullying” threat of fines.

In 2001, three million people refused to fill in the forms but there were fewer than 40 convictions.

A spokesman for the 2011 census denied the survey was intrusive, saying there were no questions on income, nature of disabilities or sexual orientation.

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