Too soon to scrap the Census - Public Administration Committee Contents

Formal Minutes

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Members present:

Mr Bernard Jenkin, in the Chair
Paul Flynn

Sheila Gilmore

Kelvin Hopkins

Draft Report (Too soon to scrap the Census), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Draft Report (The future of the census), proposed by Paul Flynn, brought up and read as follows: 1. Conservative inertia of the statistics establishment distorts judgement of census reform for 2021 as it dominated consideration of the 2011 by this committee a decade ago. 2. Major national decisions are routinely based on minute samples as low as 0.0001%. The cost of the next census will be £1billion. Only the ten year census is a 100% sample sought. This is wasteful and irrational. Frequently a distorted impression is created that rapidly loses its value in ten years between censuses. 3. The evidence from statistics establishment sought the comfort blanket of the status. One claimed that the manager of a supermarket would use census information to order next week's cabbages rather than information on how many cabbages are sold this week. Much of the evidence was sentimentally loyal to the tradition of an annual census. 4. Little assessment has been made an alternative rolling census that could be based on a small sample but updated from existing sources on a monthly or annual basis. These results could be incorporated into now routine publication of statistics. These reports would avoid the attempted manipulations of the census by groups such as the Jedi knights.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Chair's draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.-(The Chair.)

Amendment proposed, to leave out "Chair's draft Report" and insert "draft Report proposed by Paul Flynn".-(Paul Flynn.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.

Ayes, 1

Paul Flynn

Noes, 2

Sheila Gilmore

Kelvin Hopkins

Main Question put and agreed to.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 34 read and agreed to.

Summary agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Fifteenth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available (Standing Order No. 134).

[Adjourned till Tuesday 29 April at 9.15am

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Prepared 17 April 2014