No prosecutions over failure to complete Scottish census

Scotland's census completion rate was 10% lower than the rest of the UK, despite the deadline for completion being extended by two weeks.

No prosecutions over failure to complete Scottish census despite £1,000 fine warning as 300,000 shun survey iStock

No prosecutions will be brought forward against those who failed to return complete Scottish census forms.

More than 300,000 people opted against filling out the survey before the deadline – despite ministers extending it by two weeks.

It meant the completion rate was 89%, 5% short of the 94% required for the process to be considered a success according to the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

The Scottish statistics were also around 10% lower than those elsewhere in the UK.

The Scottish Government previously warned those who did not finish the forms risked being taken to court and fined £1,000.

But the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) confirmed no active cases have been brought by NRS as yet.

NRS insists the process remains “ongoing”.

A COPFS spokesperson said: “No cases have been reported to COPFS from National Records Scotland at this time.”

Constitution secretary Angus Robertson previously revealed the delayed deadline cost taxpayers up to £6m, raising the overall cost to £148m.

A data collection exercise undertaken in the final week of the census revealed that 35% of households did not return the census because they “were too busy”.

A further 17% said they were unaware of the census, while 14% did not know it was a legal requirement to complete.

Some 5% refused over concerns about privacy, government trust, the nature of questions and access to paper copies.

Around 2.3 million people did fully complete the survey.

An NRS spokesperson said talks over “specific” cases were ongoing with the Crown, but did not comment on how many were being pursued.

They added: “We are currently discussing specific cases with COPFS for their consideration for potential prosecution.”

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