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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 18:19 GMT
Scots made official ethnic group
Buchanan Street Glasgow
Scots can now affirm their national identity on offical forms
Scottish people are to be officially recognised as a distinct ethnic group under new guidelines for monitoring racial and ethnic equality.

The Scots, the English and the Welsh, will now be able to affirm their national identity on official forms.

Census forms and job applications have until now only allowed groupings like Asians, Chinese and Africans to specify their ethnicity.

The move should result in closer monitoring of how Scots are treated.

It is also expected to make job hunting fairer enabling greater racial equality in the workplace.

A new manual on Britain's ethnic, religious and national groups has been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The guidance recognises growing national identities, particularly for Scotland and Wales with devolution.

'Growing interest'

"What we've found is that there is a growing interest in how people perceive themselves nationally, as English, Welsh or Scottish," said an ONS spokesman.

"So we now recommend having questions in surveys that ask whether you consider yourself affiliated to any of these national areas."

The new guidelines would allow the government, local authorities and the NHS, to monitor the treatment of people whatever their skin colour.

It could also be easily requested to account for giving them special treatment or discriminating against them.

The new move will also crackdown on public sector employers to promote racial equality.

Private companies will also come under close scrutiny.

BBC Scotland's Gavin Walker
"This is the new way of describing ethnic heritage and nationality"

Ethnic groups growing - census
13 Feb 03  |  UK News
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03 Sep 02  |  Scotland

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