Politicians in Scotland have blocked the inclusion of a question about income in Census 2011, due to be carried out next March. The change of mind comes despite strong support from Duncan Macniven, Registrar General for Scotland, who had trialled a question in early tests.
It brings Scotland in line with England and Wales where the Office for National Statistics had already dropped it on fears of a lower response rate.
Keith Dugmore, director of the Demographic User Group, said: “There is great demand amongst users for statistics about income throughout the UK and the question is already regularly asked in censuses held in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. This is a real disappointment after all the work that GRO have done to try to make progress in Scotland. DUG will now be pressing government to use HMRC files as an alternative source to produce income statistics for small areas.”
DUG represents major blue-chip data users, including Barclays, Boots, Co-operative Group, E.ON, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, The Children’s Mutual and Whitbread. Orange has just joined the group this month.