HC Deb 19 February 1900 vol 79 cc394-6

I beg to ask leave on behalf of my right hon. friend the President of the Local Government Board to introduce a Bill for taking the census for Great Britain in 1901. Perhaps I ought to say that the measure differs in two respects, and in two respects.

only, from that passed in 1890 for a similar purpose. This Bill applies to Scotland, whereas in 1890 Scotland had a separate Bill for herself. It has, however, been found possible to combine the two measures on this occasion. Under the previous Bill a good deal was done by special enactment which is now done by instruction, and therefore this Bill is a much shorter one than the last.

MR. LEWIS () Flint Boroughs

I do not notice in the speech of the hon. Gentleman any appreciation of the fact that the next census will be taken not only at the beginning of a new decade, but also at the beginning of a new century, and that it is desirable that any additional information which it may be considered necessary to have at the beginning of a new century should be obtained under this Bill. In the United States of America most elaborate preparations are being made with a view to the next census. I do not suggest that preparations of the same elaborate and extensive character should be made in this country, but I think it is worth while considering, at such an epoch in our history, whether the scope of the invaluable information which is obtained by means of the census should be so restricted on this occasion as it generally is. It has been argued in the past that the census should be taken quinquennially and not decennially. That has, however, been decided against the quinquennialists. I venture, however to think that on this occasion some extension might be made. I gather from the speech of the hon. Gentleman that one provision in the last Census Bill, which was very greatly approved by hon. Members from Wales, is not to be omitted on this occasion, and that there will be a special census for the principality of Wales. I wish to draw the attention of the hon. Gentleman to this matter, because, on the previous occasion, certain provisions were very inadequately carried out, and I therefore hope that the instructions contained in this Bill will be of a most precise and specific character, so that the causes of complaint may not recur.

Bill for taking the Census for Great Britain in the year one thousand nine hundred and one, ordered to be brought in by Mr. Chaplin, the Lord Advocate, and Mr. T. W. Russell.