Scotland's Census needs you! Your return will help shape important government spending decisions – Angus Robertson MSP

Scotland’s Census 2022 is coming to an end, with an appeal to everyone yet to return their census forms to do so immediately.

Postal worker Patrona Tunilla holds a sample letter during the launch of Scotland's Census 2022 (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA)
Postal worker Patrona Tunilla holds a sample letter during the launch of Scotland's Census 2022 (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA)

More than two million Scottish households have already completed their census returns. Less than a quarter of households have yet to do so.

The census is the official count of every person and household in the country and takes place every ten years. It benefits people in Scotland as it helps the government and other service providers make important decisions about vital services such as education, healthcare and employment.

Completing the census enables better decisions about things that matter to you. It's essential as many people take part as possible to ensure that everyone is heard and their needs captured.

By taking a few minutes to answer questions about yourself, your household, and the place where you live, you play a vital role in helping shape important services in your community, from the building of new schools and hospitals to improving transport links and understanding health needs. Thank you to the two million households who have already submitted their response. For anyone that still hasn’t, I would urge you to act now.

Every household in Scotland must complete Scotland's Census. It’s a legal responsibility and householders are responsible for making sure they respond.

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Anyone who hasn’t completed the census by May 1 could face a fine. For anyone who has yet to complete it, help and support is available on the website census.gov.scot or via the free helpline on 0800 030 8308.

Guidance is available for every question in English and 16 other languages on the website. An interpretation service covering most languages can be accessed by calling 0800 030 8333. You can also request copies of the guidance in braille, large print or on audio CD or USB.

There are guidance videos in British Sign Language (BSL) on the key pages of the website and a video relay service offered by Contact Scotland BSL can be used to access advice from the helpline.

Scotland has relied for more than 200 years on the information the census provides. It remains the best way to gather vital information which government, councils, the NHS and a range of users in the public, private and third sectors need.The results help local authorities, businesses and the government plan a wide range of vital public services, to improve the lives of those living and working in Scotland. Research shows that for every £1, or equivalent, invested in a census it generates £5-6 of broader economic benefit.

Tens of thousands of people have requested paper copies of the census questionnaire but have yet to return them. Similarly, tens of thousands of people have begun completing the census online, but have yet to finish their return. Together with those households who have waited till the end of the census period, the time has arrived to get your census return in.

Completing it only takes a few minutes of your time. If you have still got to get round to it, please can you do it right now. We are now getting towards the end of the collection period in Scotland.

Thanks to everyone who has already submitted their census return and to everyone who is about to do so.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary