No one to be charged for failing to fill in Scotland's census

No charges are being brought against people who failed to fill in the Scottish Census, it has emerged.

Those who did not fill in details about everyone who was in their home on census night were warned they risked being taken to court and fined up to £1,000.

However, despite the threat, almost 300,000 people failed to complete the forms on time, even though the deadline for doing so was extended by more than a month.

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Final figures published by National Registers of Scotland show the completion rate was 86.6 per cent – far short of the 94 per cent needed for the information-gathering exercise to be considered a success and ten percentage points below the response rate achieved in the rest of the UK.

Almost 300,000 people failed to complete the census in timeAlmost 300,000 people failed to complete the census in time
Almost 300,000 people failed to complete the census in time

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) confirmed yesterday that no prosecutions were being pursued.

A spokesman said: “We can advise that no cases have been reported to COPFS from National Records Scotland at this time.”

Opposition politicians said the lack of prosecutions was further proof the SNP had completely mishandled the census.

The census is considered a vital tool for the government to understand the details of citizens’ lives to plan public services, and the one covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland went ahead without a hitch in 2021.

However, SNP Ministers decided to run their own census –delayed until last March – which allowed trans people to state their sex, with the answer not having to match the information on their birth certificate.

Despite the response rate in Scotland being 94 per cent in the last UK-wide census in 2010, officials lowered the target but said they expected all parts of the country to achieve a return of more than 85 per cent.

Six of Scotland’s 32 council areas failed to meet the objective, with the City of Glasgow’s performance the worst at 80.1 per cent.

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Critics highlighted that having to extend the deadline and send canvassers door to door in bid to increase the uptake cost taxpayers another £9.76 million on top of the £138 million initial bill, and the completion rate still lagged far behind the UK.

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