Divided loyalties in new census question

SCOTTISH ministers were under fire yesterday over claims that they had made it impossible to be both Scottish and British in Scotland today.

The Scottish Government published details of the questions they hope will be used in the next census in 2011.

In the section on ethnicity, respondents are asked to choose one of either Scottish or British.

There is a space at the bottom allowing people to say if they believe they are both Scottish and British, but it is impossible for respondents to tick both boxes.

They could, though, choose to be both Scottish and British in the national identity section.

But Labour's Michael MacMahon said: "You can't put people into boxes in this crass way. Many Scots consider themselves to be both British and Scottish. It's completely wrong to force people to choose between their identities in this way."

Murdo Fraser, Conservative, added: "It may well suit the SNP's narrow agenda to set up the census form along these lines, but it does not reflect the reality of life in Scotland today."

The finance secretary, John Swinney, said: "It is important the questions enable us to compile a comprehensive and detailed overview of Scotland's people."

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