Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

20 JUL 2017

Steve Brine backs campaign for Sikh inclusion on Census

Steve Brine has written to the Chief Executive of the Office of National Statistics to lobby for the Sikh religion to be included as an option on the next Census.

Steve Brine said: "Sikhs are a legally recognised ethnic group and Sikhs have been protected under UK law following a House of Lords ruling in 1983.

"Importantly, a number of issues faced by Sikhs ranging from the reporting of hate crimes through to accessing healthcare provision in the UK are not receiving appropriate attention by public bodies as they often only monitor ethnic group categories specified in the Census."

The minority Sikh community has been campaigning in the last two censuses for inclusion of a separate Sikh ethnic tick box for the compulsory ethnicity question, and demand in the Sikh community is both high and continuing to grow.  The Census 2011 saw around 84,000 Sikhs object to the existing ethnic group categories by using the write in option and specifying 'Sikh' for the ethnicity question.  This was nearly an eight-fold increase compared to the Census 2001 and several times higher than any other group.  There was also commencement of legal action in the way of a pre-action letter for judicial review that could have stopped or delayed the Census 2011.

Mr Brine continued: "I am grateful that for the Census 2021 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been consulting, listening and have tested the use of a Sikh ethnic tick box that needs to be carefully interpreted.

"The Census 2021 is likely to be the last Census and therefore the only opportunity to ensure Sikhs have a separate ethnic tick box which is what public bodies use at the national and local level for public service planning and decision making.

"I am convinced a separate Sikh ethnic tick box with appropriate publicity in 2021 on its use will also provide a better estimate of the number of Sikhs in England and Wales (and Scotland) at a local and national level when looked alongside the optional religious question."

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