§ Ruth Kelly
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.
Letter from Colin Mowl to Mr. David Laws, dated 20 January 2003:The National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales has been asked to reply to your recent question asking what is his estimate of the total cost of the UK Census of Population, broken down to show (a) gross cost and (b) net cost after census-related income, and if he will make a statement. I am replying in his absence. (91704)The information that has previously been supplied to the Treasury Sub Committee and the National Audit Office indicates that the overall budget for the Census in England and Wales covering the 13-year period 1993–2006 is £207m. ONS expect to deliver the Census within this figure subject to the settlement of outstanding claims from contractors. No income from the dissemination of census-related output has been budgeted.The Census is a devolved matter in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but an estimate of £254m for the total UK Census over the same 13-year period was provided to the Treasury Sub Committee and published in the Report of the Treasury Committee, "The 2001 Census in England and Wales", HC 310 on 6 March 2002.For the 2001 Census, access to all standard statistical output will be through a user-friendly website and, subject to simple licence terms, access will be free at the point of use. This access is in addition to pre-defined printed reports to be laid before Parliament. Sections 2(3) and 4(1) of the Census Act 1920 require the cost of undertaking the production of key outputs to be covered as part of the sunk cost of the Census.For non-standard statistics, Section 4(2) of the Census Act requires that customers will be charged only the marginal cost of producing and disseminating the information. This is consistent with the Government's wider policy on the 'Knowledge Economy' to make best use of information held by Government by offering 53W an extended range of data free of charge, thereby demonstrating its commitment to ensure that data is widely available and easy to access.