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BBC Wales's political correspondent David Cornock
"Ministers are to consider changes"
 real 56k

BBC Wales's David Cornock
"The government will pay for an advertising campaign"
 real 56k

Monday, 30 October, 2000, 08:50 GMT
Census campaign's protest
Crowd scene
Census campaigners want the "offending" form reprinted
Campaigners who want a Welsh "tick box" included on next year's census have burned a copy of the existing form in protest.

The Census Reform Group is unhappy with the compromise announced by the government this week to try to resolve the row.

The dispute has arisen because the 2001 census will have boxes for people to tick to classify themselves as British or Irish, but will not have one for the Welsh.

In Scotland, there will be a "Scottish" tick box, but the Office for National Statistics says the form for Wales has already been printed and it is too late to change it.

Protests

This has sparked widespread protests in Wales, which led to the government announcing earlier this week that it had ordered a separate survey to find out how many people consider themselves Welsh.

An advertising campaign will also be launched to encourage people to reveal their national identity on the census form by writing in the word "Welsh".

Lorraine Barrett AM said the announcement of the two measures, which together will cost 1m, was a welcome step forward.

"This package of measures will ensure the best-ever survey of ethnic identity in Wales, far better than that carried out in any other part of the UK," she said.

Scottish success

The ONS has said census legislation for Scotland was devolved to the Scottish Parliament, which had taken the decision to add the Scottish tick box.

However, for Wales, the matter was decided in London, and the decision was taken not to include a tick box for people to say they were Welsh.

Paul Murphy, Secretary of State for Wales, has welcomed the new initiative to broaden the census in Wales.

He said there would now be much more detailed information available about Welsh people.

However, the Census Reform Group, which has been campaigning for the census form to be changed, said the government's compromise does not go far enough.

Census campaigner Ray Davies
Census campaigner Ray Davies
The group said the government's planned 1m advertising campaign would be better spent in providing a correct census form with a Welsh tick box.

They also said the Government could reprint an amendment to the "offending" page 6 of the census form.

The group wants people to disregard the ONS page on the official census and use the amended one provided by the Census Reform Group on its website.

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See also:

11 Sep 00 | Wales
Welsh equality row over census
18 Oct 00 | Wales
Census review 'too costly'
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