More than a third of Scottish census non-returners claim they were 'too busy'

More than a third of those who failed to complete Scotland's botched census said it was because they were "too busy", research has found.

SNP culture secretary Angus Robertson said “changes in society’s attitudes” may have had a “significant part to play” in the low return rate.

He confirmed 2.3 million households provided a response, which is a national response rate of 87.9 per cent. This compares to a target of 94 per cent.

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In England and Wales, 97 per cent of households completed the census, which took place last year.

There have been widespread concerns over the low return rate for Scotland's census

The Scottish census deadline was previously extended by a month to encourage extra uptake, with an additional 200,000 households returning the form in that period.

Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said: “Scotland’s census lies in ruins. It is a disgrace.”

He said the Scottish Government could have run the census in sync with the rest of the UK, but “as always, they had to be different”.

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, Mr Robertson said it was important to understand why “a portion” of households did not complete the census.

He said: "To this end in the last week of the census collection period, a data collection exercise was undertaken by field staff to understand the reasons for non-completion by householders.

“While many reasons were offered by householders by far the most common, at 35 per cent, was 'too busy'.

"This suggests changes in society’s attitudes to the census and completing it have had a significant part to play."

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He insisted a return rate of 87.9 per cent “is a good level of national census returns and puts us in a strong position on which to build”.

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