Draft 2011 Census does not include sexuality question

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The government’s proposed White Paper on the 2011 Census does not include proposals for a question on sexual identity.

A spokesperson for the Office for National Statistics said that the proposed contents of the Census will be announced in the Census White Paper on 11 December.

“The White Paper does not include proposals for a question on sexual identity,” he said.

The Census is conducted every ten years and every household is legally required to answer the questions asked.

The ONS announced yesterday that it would be including a question on sexual identity on major surveys from January.

“Yesterday’s announcement only concerns the ONS’ intention to start asking this question on its major social sample surveys, participation in which is voluntary,” an ONS spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk

Stonewall had lobbied the ONS to improve its data gathering on the UK’s gay population.

“We believe that solid evidence is essential to good policy making,” a spokesperson for the gay equality organisation told PinkNews.co.uk.

“We are pleased therefore that at long last lesbian, gay and bisexual people will be counted in government statistics.”

At present the only offical government figure on the number of lesbian, gay and bisexual people came from Treasury actuaries who estimated they make up 6% of the adult population.

In February the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, joined with Stonewall’s chief executive Ben Summerskill to ask for questions on sexual orientation to form part of the census.

Last year Stephen Williams MP tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons asking the government to ensure that a question is asked in 2011 about sexual orientation.

“A question on sexual orientation would help to monitor equality legislation and improve service provision to lesbian, gay and bisexual people,” his motion read.

Mr Williams, the MP for Bristol West, welcomed the decision to ask a question about civil partnerships, but said that is important to know how many gay people there are in the UK.