§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the census is to be postponed as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. 
§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Gordon Prentice, dated March 2001:As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the possible postponement of the census due to the foot and mouth outbreak (151885).I am continuing to monitor the impact of the foot and mouth outbreak, and the possible implications for the Census in England and Wales.No one can ignore the foot and mouth outbreak. Census activities will be in accordance with whatever else is happening in the areas affected by the outbreak, including restrictions on travel and contact.Delivery of forms to individual households is not due to start until April 9. It is not currently possible to assess what the situation in rural areas will be at that time. I will monitor the situation on a daily basis, but I recognise that it may be necessary to alter some aspects of the practical operation in rural areas, possibly at very short notice.High quality enumeration is crucial to the Census. The Census rests on the goodwill and trust of the people across all communities. In the past the rural population has been well motivated to complete their forms. To enable them to do so on this occasion I will be looking at any practical options including, for example, whether the enumeration period around Census day (April 29) should be extended. I will continue to discuss what changes and precautions for staff may be necessary with the relevant agencies, including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and other interested parties.