HC Deb 04 May 1960 vol 622 cc1181-98

8.17 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Miss Edith Pitt)

I beg to move, That articles 6 (a) (i) to (iii) and 10 (c) of Part I, articles 2, 3 and 4 of Part II and article 3 of Part III of the Second Schedule to the draft of the Order in Council, entitled the Census Order, 1960, which was laid before this House on 6th April, be approved.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

I think it would be for the convenience of the House to discuss with this Motion the following Motion, in the names of the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) and the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson)— That the draft of the Order in Council, entitled the Census Order, 1960, which was laid before this House on 6th April, be not submitted to Her Majesty. —and to divide, if necessary on both separately.

Miss Pitt

Thank you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.

The Census Act, 1920, provides that a census of population can be authorised by Order in Council, a draft of which must be laid before both Houses of Parliament. The draft of this Order is subject to negative Resolution and I expect to find that this is the reason for the Motion in the names of the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) and his hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson), as otherwise there would be no opportunity to debate the Order in full.

In addition, any particulars required in the census return not contained in paragraphs 1 to 5 in the Schedule to the 1920 Act require the affirmative Resolution of both Houses. There are five such additional items which require affirmative Resolution and I shall return to the details of those five later. Meantime, as you have said, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, it will be convenient if we take both Motions together.

The Order prescribes the date on which the census is to be taken, the persons by whom and with respect to whom the returns for the purposes of the census are to be made, and the particulars to be stated in the returns. The Order applies to Great Britain and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland joins with my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister of Health in submitting it to this House.

The census date proposed is Sunday, 23rd April, 1961. This is chosen to secure that as far as possible the largest number of people will be at their homes. The census point is midnight on Sunday, 23rd April. The forms of the return will be distributed beforehand, and collected on the following Monday.

Census information is treated at all stages as strictly confidential, and this is very important. The information given will be used for statistical purposes, and no personal details about individuals or individual families will be disclosed in the census publications. Each separate household will receive its own return, and the head of the household has to complete it and return it to the census enumerator. There will be forms of return for hotels, hospitals and other institutions. The person making the return may not use the information for any purpose other than the making of the return. Any person employed in the census who misuses information given in the return is liable to a penalty under Section 8 (2) of the Census Act.

Provision is, however, made for people who do not wish information about themselves to come into the hands of the person making the census return. Such people may make separate confidential returns on separate schedules, which they can obtain direct from the enumerator and return direct to him. The enumerators themselves are given strict instructions about the confidentiality of all census information. So far as possible, they are not allocated to districts in which they are known personally to many of the residents. In the words of the Census Act, 1920, the purpose of the census is to obtain statistical information with a view to ascertaining the social or civil condition of the population; that is to say, the figures of population, national and local, and statistical information about certain characteristics, such as numbers by sex and age, occupation, area of residence, housing conditions, place of work and others.

The Government need to have such information, for example, for the purpose of future estimates of development in the fields of education, housing and public services, and it is essential to have such information kept up to date by a periodic census. While current statistics are collected by many Departments, these in themselves will not remove the need for a census.

I should perhaps explain to the House that there has been very full consultation among Government Departments concerned about the list of questions to be asked in the census, and the Government are satisfied that the information which the census will produce is essential and cannot be obtained otherwise than by a census. The census counts everyone at one point in time, and with its comprehensive coverage gives basic population data for the whole population at one point in time.

The census is a national operation which depends for its success on public goodwill and co-operation. We seek the willing help of the public, and we are confident that this will be freely forthcoming as on previous censuses. The questions relate to simple matters of fact which are within the knowledge of the people concerned. While the census is compulsory, we shall use every means we can to inspire the voluntary spirit. The Press and broadcasting services have helped us greatly in the past, and I am sure they will do so again. We mean to use other modern means of publicity so far as seems appropriate to the purpose.

There is, however, a difference in the 1961 census in that the extended use of sampling methods is proposed, and some of the particulars will be obtained for approximately 10 per cent. of the population. These are the particulars listed in Part II of the Second Schedule of the Order. Sampling methods are being introduced in this way because for some inquiries, notably the inquiries into the occupational situation of the working population, the analysis of numbers can be sufficient on a sampling basis. The aim has been to speed up analysis of the results. There have been complaints in the past, I understand, about the long time taken for the information collected at the census date to be made available in the form of analysed returns. One immediate effect of the sampling procedure will be to reduce the number of questions for most of the people. The sampling will be done by having two different returns or schedules for private householders. One will be given to nine householders out of ten and another will be given to every tenth householder.

The second schedule will contain the additional questions and will therefore be considerably larger. Instructions will be given to enumerators under the proviso to paragraph 4 (1) to ensure the random distribution of the sampling questions. In the case of institutions the persons in charge will be asked to answer questions concerning themselves on the shorter schedule in the case of nine individuals out of ten, and extra questions in the case of the tenth individual. The effect of this will be that the great majority of the population will have a smaller number of questions to answer in the 1961 census than in any recent census this century.

I should perhaps explain that on the publication of the results, as on previous occasions, it is proposed to publish a preliminary report with provisional figures by numbers, sex and areas, which should be available within two months or so of the census date. The final results will be published at intervals, and we hope that the complete analysis will be finished within a matter of three years or so. Use is to be made of recent developments in electronic equipment in the processing of the results, and the effect of using such equipment and of the sampling methods should reduce the amount of preliminary clerical work and speed the production of the results.

Close consultation with Government Departments has helped to produce the census programme for 1961. Many suggestions were received both from Departments and many other quarters with an interest in census statistics, but the programme now put forward represents a balance which can reasonably be asked for. Most of the questions which are to be asked have appeared in previous censuses, though some are modified, some have been extended and there are some new ones.

I said that I would return to the questions covered by the affirmative procedure, which are as follows: the first is on marriage and children, which will figure on all returns, and that is covered by article 6 (a), paragraphs i to iii, of Part I of the Second Schedule. Part only of this inquiry requires the affirmative Resolution procedure, the rest being covered by the Census Act, 1920, item 5 of the Schedule, but it is perhaps best to consider the whole of article 6 together. The questions on marriage have varied from census to census. Those on the duration of marriage and the number of children were first asked in 1911 and were repeated in 1951, with further questions as to whether a person had been married more than once and whether there had been a child during the previous twelve months. Similar questions are proposed this time.

It is again proposed to ask for the particulars of all women, this time without restriction of age, that is to say, of all women who are married at the time of the census, and it is proposed to extend the question to women who have been married. There is also a question asking for the date of the end of the marriage for women whose marriage, or, if married more than once, whose first marriage, has been terminated by widowhood or divorce. This extra information is needed so that it may be possible to include in the analysis the number of children of all marriages which have run the full length of child-bearing life.

The statistics derived from these questions will comprise the numbers of children born to women at different ages and at different durations of marriage. This information will provide a fuller picture of probable population trends than can be gained from the current birth and registration data alone. The questions relate to simple dates and facts. There was no difficulty in obtaining this information in 1911 or 1951, and we think that there should be no difficulty in 1961 with what is now proposed.

I come next to question 10 (c) in Part I of the Second Schedule. The questions on housing have been expanded as compared with 1951. This is because of the great use of the census data to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. The new questions, of which only those relating to housing tenure require the affirmative procedure, relate to the type of building and extend the inquiry about household arrangements to cover the hot water supply. Housing tenure is covered by question 10 (c) of Part I. This question asks whether the accommodation occupied by a household is held by them as owner-occupiers, is occupied in connection with any employment or as part of business premises, is rented from a council or a private landlord or is occupied on some other terms.

The information will be useful as basic information for various aspects of housing and town planning policy. At present, information of this kind has to be pieced together from a variety of sources such as council records and special surveys which do not have complete coverage. The value of this new census question is that it will provide information which is reliable and comprehensive, and it will be compiled on a uniform basis for all types of tenure. It will provide information not merely about numbers of dwellings held in the various ways but numbers of families living in them. In addition, by relating the information to other information collected at the census, it will be possible more than ever before to consider the size of households and other characteristics of the people who occupy various types of dwelling. The census provides a ready means of obtaining this information and the questions are put in simple terms.

Turning to education, this forms part of the selective returns, and it is provided for in Article 2 of Part II of the Second Schedule. The question asks the age at which full-time education ceased. This will provide information about the general level of education in the community and can be combined with the occupation question to give comparative figures for educational level and current occupation in respect of people leaving school at different ages. The question is similar to that asked in 1951 and is included at the request of the Ministry of Education. In 1951, the question was confined to persons in gainful occupation as the main purpose was to obtain information about the level of education of persons in employment and to relate it to the job followed. The extension to the population generally is new.

Article 3 of Part II of the Second Schedule, Question 3, is new and asks for scientific and technological qualifications. The census provides a convenient means of obtaining information which can be related to the other information on the census return, for example, about current employment. The question is included at the request of the office of the Minister for Science supported by the Ministries of Labour and Education which need more information about the sex, age distribution and occupation of highly-qualified scientific and technological personnel.

Article 4 of Part II is a new question, again for the selective returns. The object is to obtain information as to (a) the frequency, amount, direction and characteristics of population movements within this country, and (b) the degree of permanence of usual residence. At present, very little has been known statistically about movement from area to area within the country or about the duration of people's periods of residence at the addresses they describe as their usual residence. The answers to this new question will make it possible for the first time to assess the degree of stability of local populations over a longer period, to measure the amount of movement of the population with some accuracy, and to provide information on which present estimates of population can be improved, on the basis of which planning authorities will be able to forecast the need for housing and essential services, water supply, drainage and education. This is of importance to local authorities and is included at the request of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

There is another innovation which I might mention, although it does not require the affirmative procedure. Previous censuses have produced information about the numbers and conditions of people in various parts of the country at a fixed point in time—the census night. This basis of enumeration is retained for the 1961 census, but, in addition, inquiries are proposed, again on a sample basis only, concerning the usual make-up of private households. Thus, people are asked to give particulars, not only of the persons present in the house on census night, but also some particulars of members of the household who happen to be away from home. From the experience of past censuses, it can be expected that in 1961 there will be over 1 million persons absent from their homes on census night. Because of these absentees it has not been possible in previous censuses to present figures of the normal size of private households. The answers to the questions will be used solely to present an analysis of households as usually constituted.

I have explained the purpose of this Order in some detail because I hoped that in so doing I might anticipate points which would be in the minds of hon. Members. I welcome the opportunity that this debate has given because of the need for publicity in order that the census and the particulars required in the census return shall be fully understood throughout the country. There has already been publicity. We were grateful for the publicity received on the last occasion. We intend that there shall be further publicity before we come to census date next year through all the mediums now available to us, such as the Press and radio, which were particularly helpful on the last occasion. Now we shall have the added help of the wide use of television. In this way we hope that we shall do what is essential, namely, secure the co-operation of the public.

I am glad that we have had the debate which will make its contribution to the necessary publicity. Because of the cooperation we hope to enjoy, questions have been kept to the minimum which it is reasonable to ask. The wording of the schedules issued to householders will be as simple and clear as we can possibly make it. I hope that the House will now accept the Motion.

8.38 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

We are grateful to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for the great trouble she has taken in explaining in great detail the content and purport of this Motion. She is perfectly right in saying that we have tabled a Motion, as was done on 11th July, 1950, to enable the whole subject to be discussed. I do not know whether the hon. Lady read the debate of 11th July, 1950, but if she did she will have noticed that her predecessor in office, who was then a Labour Minister, was subjected to a very considerable barrage of attack—particularly a barrage of baronets. In reading the debate, I noticed that the hon. Members for Westbury (Sir R. Grimston) and South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) spoke. One of the hon. Lady's colleagues, the present Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, joined in in very strong terms.

All these hon. Members said that the census was much too expensive, that it should be postponed, and that the questions asked of married women were appalling. The present Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport said that the questions were downright impertinent. If they were impertinent then, they are even more impertinent now. They are closer now than they were then. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir S. Summers) went so far as to suggest that they interfered with the laws of marriage. I hope that the hon. Lady has made her peace with her various colleagues who then took such a strong line on this matter.

We strongly support the census. We do not take the line which was taken in 1950 by a number of Conservatives. As the hon. Lady said, it is vitally important that we should know much more than we do about the essential figures of our country and of our fellow citizens, particularly figures of migration within the country. This is something about which we really know practically nothing other than what one can infer from figures collected for quite different purposes—questions of fertility, distribution of population, and so on. I believe it is true to say that in a great deal of very important policy we are acting in the dark and making guesses, such as in town planning, school planning and other forms of planning. Where we ought to have information we have to make guesses, and for that reason policies are often not as effective as they could otherwise be.

The hon. Lady said that we must keep up to date. She is right. I am not sure that there is not a very strong case for a quinquennial census. We are a very crowded and complex country, with people moving about a great deal. No doubt in the United States a decennial census is enough, but I am not sure that for our purposes, for the purposes of planning and for Government administration in this extremely complex country, we should not have more frequent and more up-to-date figures, at any rate on a sample basis. Now that this innovation of a sample has been suggested, I am not sure that it would not be a good thing to have perhaps a 10 per cent. sample between the decennial censuses.

I have a number of questions to put to the hon. Lady. It would be interesting to know what it is thought the cost of the census will be, not that we shall say that it is too expensive, because it is important to pay for these things, but it would just be interesting to know.

The hon. Lady said, and it is the principle of our census, that we take the whole population at a particular point of time. I have often wondered, and I have been wondering after reading the First Schedule, how one allows for the inevitable overlap between certain categories of people who are counted twice. The first and main class is the people returned by householders, which includes people who are usually resident in such dwellings or lodgings but are temporarily absent. All those who are temporarily absent are counted somewhere else—in hospital, in a hotel, in prison or elswhere. It cannot be a considerable figure, but the hon. Lady said that there would be 1 million people who are away from home, and unless there is a proper arrangement to avoid overlap—

Miss Pitt

There will be a separate item in the Schedule for people who are temporarily absent.

Mr. Gordon Walker

It seems to me that the people referred to in 1 (b), of the First Schedule, at the bottom of page 2, are not counted.

Miss Pitt

They will be counted and deducted.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Then they are added and substracted simultaneously. It may be not so necessary to have that figure.

The 10 per cent. sample, which is a good idea, has been tried in other countries, and it is a sensible way of getting answers without bothering so many people with more detailed questions. But I am not sure how the sample is to be selected. If it is just the very crude system of taking every tenth household, it may not be a very scientific sample. The sampling technique depends on a very careful selection and balancing of the sample. If it is the crude system of taking every one in ten households and multiplying by ten, it may be difficult to obtain adequate general and national figures, for I understand, though I am no pollster, that this system may conceal within itself quite considerable errors. No doubt we shall be told about that, if not now, when the later regulations are made.

It will be three years before we get the full results. That seems a long time. After all, it is not only that we need the figures in order to govern and administer; we need them fairly quickly so that they do not have time to become out of date again. In view of the magnificent electronic machines available now which can do years of work in seconds, is it not possible to have the process speeded up a little more? Are the Government sure that they are really using to the full the machines which are available in order to speed up this process enormously, because every six months of delay in the publication of the figures makes them less use for the very purposes for which the hon. Lady said that we need them?

Although some of my hon. Friends and hon. Gentlemen opposite may have different views about certain questions, I myself think that the questions, including the new ones and including the ones which were described by the members of the Conservative Party last time as downright impertinent, are perfectly all right and necessary, and that they were very carefully considered before it was decided to include them. Nonetheless, some of them will cause resentment unless we are careful, some particularly for women, and some of those addressed to men about employment and employers and so on. These questions can cause resentment unless there is very careful explanation and preparation.

I was glad to hear what the hon. Lady said about the publicity that ought to be given to this matter. This is extremely important. This is one of the many acts of Government which cannot be done without the participation of the people. It is one of those voluntary acts which can only be guided by the Government. The participation of the people is extremely important, and it will be necessary to use every sort of resource to explain to people two things in particular—the reasons for the questions and that the questions are reasonable to ask.

British people will put up with anything as long as it is reasonable and sensible, but otherwise they will not, and it is therefore extremely important to explain these matters and particularly this difficult question about women and employees. It is important to explain that the Government need the information and also to explain its confidentiality—that it is as secret as the Ballot itself. This must be continuously put across.

We shall have another go at this subject, because apparently regulations in detail will be put before us dealing with the exact way in which the census is to be carried out. We shall want to scrutinise those regulations very carefully. We have not put the Motion on the Order Paper in order to divide the House but to enable a proper debate to take place without inhibition. I thank the hon. Lady for the courtesy with which she told us about these things in great detail, and I hope that one or two of the questions which I asked will be answered in due course.

8.47 p.m.

Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)

I rise only to ask the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary two questions with which I am sure she will deal when she replies to the debate. They both relate to the sample census. Will adequate steps to taken to explain to the public that a sample census is being taken? Some people are reluctant to talk about a census at all and particularly to tell their neighbours what information has been given. There are others who will almost certainly talk to their neighbours, and if one person is asked more questions than another it will arouse a considerable amount of puzzlement in their minds. It is important, therefore, that adequate explanation should be given of the reasons for taking a sample census.

The second point is the care taken in the making of the sample. I agree that it would be unwise to make too haphazard a sampling. I shall be interested to know how it will be done. It is extremely difficult to pick out one in ten with any degree of care, but I should have thought that if the one in ten were chosen entirely haphazardly it would not be adequate for the purpose. I would add that, of course, everyone appreciates how important it is to emphasise the confidential nature of the information that is to be obtained.

8.49 p.m.

Mr. John Parker (Dagenham)

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary about points which I have already raised in correspondence with the Home Office on the inclusion of questions about religion among the census items. In 1851 a voluntary inquiry on the subject was conducted in association with the census. In many other countries people are asked to state their religion and there is no difficulty in collecting the information.

It is more important now than ever that we should have accurate information on this subject because, as a matter of practical policy, requests are made to the Government for assistance for religious education and important grants are made from public funds for this purpose. In order to test whether it is desirable or reasonable to give grants in aid of religious education sponsored by a particular Church, it is important to know the strength of that Church. At present, the only figures we have are those provided by the Churches themselves and different Churches compile them on very different bases.

The Roman Catholic Church counts as its members all those who have been baptised, irrespective of whether they have left the Church at a later date or not. The Church of England, I understand, counts all those who have taken communion on Easter Day as members. Other denominations have different methods of computing their members. I think it desirable that there should be an attempt by the State officially to find out what is the strength of these various religious bodies.

I suggest that from the census returns we could pick out the number of children of school age to find out the number of children in an area desirous of attending particular Church schools. This would enable us to check up on the returns made by the different churches. It is desirable to have this information if we are to adopt a fair and sensible policy with regard to assistance grants to particular Churches for their schools.

A great many people have no religion. How are they to be shown on the census form? I think that it would be quite simple for people who are humanists or agnostics, or whatever else they may be, to put on the forms what they themselves think they are and that for census purposes they could be amalgamated together. In that way I do not think there will be any difficulty if there are many people who do not want to declare themselves as being of any particular religion.

It is desirable that we should collect information about how much Gaelic is spoken in Scotland and how much Welsh is spoken in Wales and Monmouthshire. At the same time, there are a number of Welsh-speaking villages inside the English border—in Shropshire, for example. It is desirable to have information about Oswestry and similar areas in Shropshire so that we may know how much Welsh is spoken there. Those are points that I want to make, and I should like to press for strongly.

8.54 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Niall Macpherson)

The Government would like to thank the Opposition for the way in which they have welcomed this Order. I should like to deal with the various points that have been raised and also to say a word about the way in which the Order affects Scotland.

The right bon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) dealt first with the need for a quinquennial census. As he knows, there has been a regular ten-yearly census since 1801 except for one year, 1941, which was missed, but we shall consider very carefully what he said. The Act is expressed so as to prevent anything less than a five-yearly census. As to the cost, about which the right hon. Gentleman asked, it is estimated at £3 million.

The sampling is worked out on a very careful statistical basis, and very careful instructions are given to the enumerators. As the right hon. Gentleman said, there will be a further opportunity to discuss the matter when we reach the regulations.

He also asked about the length of time taken to produce the full returns. He will appreciate the very great detail which is 'involved and the great detail in the publication as well. My hon. Friend mentioned that the main population data will not be long delayed after the census has been taken. It will come out in a matter of two months. Electronic devices are now available which help in that process and in the sorting process.

Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)

Can the hon. Gentleman say how the time of three years for the final analysis compares with the time of the final analysis of the 1951 census?

Mr. Macpherson

I believe that that final analysis took about eight years, so that a time of three years represents a considerable improvement.

The right hon. Gentleman laid great stress on the co-operation and participation of the public in this matter. There will be a gradual build-up towards the date and during the week before the actual census point, the enumerators will be going round and will be making quite clear exactly what should be returned in the census and satisfying any questions which may be asked.

The hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) asked about the census of religion. The basis for co-operation and the way in which the two Registrars-General have been looking at this matter and sifting out the sort of questions which should be asked has been to consider what questions are likely to be answered truthfully and what use will be made of the results when obtained. With the exception of 1851, which was an exceptional case and not exactly an official census, in this country no questions have ever been asked about religion except, curiously enough, in the earliest Scottish example dating back to 1755, when the first census in Scotland was taken by Dr. Alexander Webster, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, and a man of great vigour and enterprise. The manuscript account of his census is in the National Library of Scotland and it distinguished between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but no further than that.

Nevertheless, there is considerable resistance towards giving this kind of information and we are advised that the questions would probably be widely resented and in consequence we would not be likely to get the sort of truthful answers which we seek to obtain in the census.

The hon. Gentleman also referred to Welsh-speaking people in England and Wales. It has been thought that it is sufficient for the purpose of the census to count Welsh-speaking people in Wales. That may be necessary because there may be some people in Wales who speak nothing but Welsh. The census therefore has also to be printed in Welsh. I may say that it is not to be printed in Gaelic. At the time of the last census, there were some 2,200 persons who spoke Gaelic only. I am afraid that it is probably true to say that the number has been reduced.

Mr. K. Robinson

Why "afraid"?

Mr. Macpherson

Because many people attach much importance to the preservation of the Gaelic tongue.

The hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade) referred to the random 10 per cent. sample, and I think that I have answered what he said. He stressed the steps which should be taken to explain the difference with the sample census. That, of course, will be done by the enumerators as they go round. No doubt neighbours will be apt to compare the fact that some have received a census divided into five sections and others a census divided into only three sections, or something of that sort. The enumerators will help to explain that.

Part III contains provisions relating only to Scotland. Article 3 requires affirmative Resolution, which I will briefly explain. This article is a consequential extension to Scotland of Article 10 (c, 3) of Part I. Article 10 (c) is designed to provide a simple means of getting information about the arrangements under which people occupy the houses in which they reside.

Article 10 (3, c) relates to dwellings rented from local authorities or new towns corporations. This is felt to be sufficient in England and Wales, but in Scotland we have the three additional agencies named in Article 3 of Part III, which, with direct Exchequer assistance, have also built houses to rent. As they are, for the practical purposes of the census, similar to local authorities and to new town corporations, they should be bracketed with the latter bodies for the purpose of the information to be obtained as the result of Article 10 (c, 3). Article 3 of Part III has been included in order to achieve this object.

There are two other differences in the application of the draft order to Scotland, both of them in Part III of the Second Schedule. They do not require affirmative Resolutions, but I will say something about them. Article I of Part III deals with the speaking of Gaelic. As I have said, in 1951, the census showed that nearly 2,200 persons spoke Gaelic only, and more than 93,000 spoke both Gaelic and English. We do not know what this census will bring forward, and I shall certainly not prophecy.

Article 2 of Part III proposes to retain the traditional question about the county of birth in cases of persons born in Scotland. We are retaining it for Scotland because we have been asked to do so by several university departments interested in long-term population movements within Scotland.

It cannot be emphasised too often that, as in the past, the census schedules that the householders complete are strictly confidential, that the information in them is used solely for compiling statistics, and that no details of individuals are disclosed to any persons or departments outside the census staff.

As I have said, the tradition of censuses in Scotland go back a very long time. We cannot claim that the first census was taken in Scotland—I believe that it was in Iceland—but I have no doubt that this tradition before us in Scotland will follow the same path next year and that there will be a first class response to the census of population in 1961. I am certain that also will apply to the whole of Great Britain.

Mr. Parker

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that women are more likely to be sensitive about giving details about their marital history than about the religion they profess?

Mr. Macpherson

The questions they are asked are not questions that they will not have disclosed already, because they are bound to disclose them on the occasion of their previous marriages. I do not think that the women would be particularly worried about these particular questions. They can obtain a special form from the enumerator and fill that up and hand it directly to the enumerator.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That articles 6 (a) (i) to (iii) and 10 (c) of Part I, articles 2, 3 and 4 of Part II and article 3 of Part III of the Second Schedule to the draft of the Order in Council, entitled the Census Order, 1960, which was laid before this House on 6th April, be approved.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I beg to move, That the draft of the Order in Council, entitled the Census Order, 1960, which was laid before this House on 6th April, be not submitted to Her Majesty. I understand that I have to move this Motion to keep in order. In the circumstances, I now beg to ask leave to withdraw it.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.