BRITS are starting to receive letters about the Census 2021 survey – but don’t ignore it, as you could end up being fined £1,000.
The census is a questionnaire about your household, covering topics such as who you live with, the type of property you live in and your employment status.
Each household will receive a letter in the post with a unique code to fill out their survey.
You only need to fill this out once per household, and you can request to do this via an online form or postal survey.
Every household in England and Wales is being encouraged to complete this survey before Census Day, which is March 21, 2021.
For those in Scotland, its census won't take place until 2022.
What happens to the information collected in the Census 2021?
THE Office of National Statistics (ONS), which carries out the census, says it helps to give a “complete picture of the nation”.
Statistics obtained from recent censuses can be found at the ONS website but if you want to dig back even further you can go to the National Archives.
No personal data is released or shared by the ONS but people can look at profiles of the country and their local area.
ONS carries out a number of checks before publishing results to protect people's personal information.
If you don’t take part, you could be fined £1,000 as it’s a legal requirement for each household to fill out the census.
Supplying incorrect information is also a criminal offence, so make sure your answers are accurate.
However, not all questions are mandatory – for example, you don’t need to answer questions about your sexual orientation, gender, and religion.
We explain more about the Census 2021 below.
James Andrews, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “The last thing anyone needs right now is a £1,000 fine landing on their doormat.
“I would urge everyone to ensure that they fill in and submit their census form within the deadline to avoid having to pay a penalty.
“It should only take 10 minutes a person, with another 10 to cover the ‘household’ section.”
How do I complete the Census 2021 survey?
You should receive one letter per household about the census, and you only need to fill it out once for everyone you live with.
The letter you'll receive will contain a unique access code, which you'll need to complete the census online via census.gov.uk.
If you don't want to or can't complete the form online, you can contact the ONS on 0800 141 2021 in England or 0800 169 2021 in Wales and ask for a paper form.
If you haven't heard from the ONS by March 21, you can contact them via census.gov.uk to ask for your unique code.
Households are being asked to complete the census by this date, or they risk being fined £1,000.
These fines are usually a last resort though, and likely wouldn't be enforced until several months after this deadline.
Just four people received the maximum £1,000 fine during the last census in 2011.
What questions do I need to fill out?
The majority of the questions in the Census 2021 survey are mandatory, which means you'll need to answer them.
For example, questions that need to be filled in include those about your country of birth, ones about your employment, and ones about your relationship to everyone in your household.
More personal questions, such as about sexual orientation, gender, and religion, don't need to answered.
The form will say which questions you must complete and which don't need to be answered.
There are different sections that need to be filled in. One is about your household collectively, and the other consists of individual parts for each person.
You can choose to fill out the form on behalf of your household.
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