The Census, the official population count carried out by the UK Government, is to be scrapped after more than 200 years…
Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, said the Census, which takes place every 10 years, was an expensive and inaccurate way of measuring the number of people in Britain.
Instead, the Government is examining different and cheaper ways to count the population more regularly, using existing public and private databases, including credit reference agencies.
It will represent a historic shift in the way that information about the nation’s population, religion and social habits is gathered.
The suggestion is likely to be approved by Cabinet next week. It will be too late to prevent the next Census on March 27, 2011 from going ahead, although Mr Maude said he was looking at ways of reducing the £482million cost.
Britain has carried out a Census every decade since 1801, with the exception of 1941 during the Second World War.
It is the only time that everybody in the country is counted, and is used by the Government to determine spending priorities and track population movements.
Mr Maude, who has responsibility for the Census, told The Daily Telegraph that the Government was looking for a “fundamentally” better way of doing it. “There are, I believe, ways of doing this which will provide better, quicker information, more frequently and cheaper,” he said.
“Cheaper” being the operative word. Cost is always a higher priority than accuracy or usefulness for beancounters and Tories.
Next year, they plan on replacing the Queen with Sarah Palin. She’ll work for less and say funnier things about working people.