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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 January, 2004, 12:07 GMT
'Tick-box' fight finally won
Census form
People campaigned against the lack of a Welsh 'tick-box' in 2001
Welsh people are to finally get recognition as a national category in their own right under new guidelines for monitoring racial and ethnical equality.

Censuses, opinion surveys and job applications will all carry special boxes in future where the Welsh can officially describe their national heritage.

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

It follows a fierce campaign fought in Wales ahead of the last 2001 official census because there was no box on that form designating 'Welsh' as an identity.

Plaid Cymru, who were at the head of the campaign, printed 200,000 special stickers for people to put on the forms marking their Welsh identity.

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

Welcoming the latest move, Plaid MP Elfyn Llwyd said that "its obviously right and proper that people should have a choice" adding he believed more and more people living in Wales will now call themselves Welsh.

Until now, only groups such as Asians, Africans and Irish have been able to denote their ethnic background on official forms.

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

"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.

Scrutiny

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.

A spokesman for the Commission for Racial Equality said: "The bottom line is that Welsh is an ethnic group in the same way Afro-Caribbean is, so employers would be subject to the same process."

All government surveys will now feature two questions on background, one for ethnicity and one on nationality.

In Wales, the latter question will ask 'What do you consider your national identity to be?', and offer a range of answers including Welsh

New figures released lasted week by the ONS showed people in Wales have a strong sense of national identity despite an increase in incomers from England.

The special snapshot was compiled in response to the 'Welsh tick-box' campaign.

The census revealed one in five people living in Wales in 2001 was born in England.




SEE ALSO:
Welsh equality row over census
11 Sep 00  |  Wales
Welsh 'hurt' by census omission
31 Oct 00  |  Wales


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