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Call for Cornish ethnicity on the 2011 UK census

The Cornish branch of the Celtic League have been lobbying a number of organisations and individuals as part of the campaign approved at this years Celtic League AGM to include a Cornish nationality option in the 2011 Census.

One of the more prominent individuals lobbied is Communities Minister Hazel Blears. a copy of the correspondence to her is set out below:

"Hazel Blears MP
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Department for Communities and Local Government
Eland House,
Bressenden Place,
London SW1E 5DU


Dear Hazel Blears

National Identity Tick Box for Cornish on 2011 Census

I am writing to you on behalf of the Celtic League to determine what authority and/or influence the Government have over the content of the population censuses that are undertaken every ten years by the Office of National Statistics throughout the UK, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

At our last AGM in 2007, the following resolution was passed:

"That the Annual General Meeting of the Celtic League in Cardiff on 29 th September, 2007, calls upon the Westminster Government and the Office for National Statistics to include a specific Cornish tick box in the Census planned for 2011 so giving the Cornish people parity with the other Celtic Nations and National Minorities of Great Britain."

We are aware that last year the Westminster Government decided once again not to include the Cornish under the Framework Convention for the Protection for National Minorities (FCPNM) and that the Cornish ethnic group is not currently officially recognized by the Government. However, I am writing to you to ask what the implications of this are for the purposes of the population Census mentioned above. Assuming that the Government has some influence and/or authority over the content of the next Census in 2011, would the Cornish still nevertheless be entitled to have their own tick box response category?

You may be interested to know in the 2001 Census, the Cornish were given their own code (06) and 34,000 people in Cornwall and 3,500 people in the rest of the UK made use of this option, even though there was little official publicity to advertise the fact that this could be done. Taking into consideration the fact that it was neither clear which tick box to mark and that people had to first deny being British to utilise the option, this was a significant phenomenon, given the conditions and it represented 7% of the population of Cornwall.

Those people wishing to describe their identity as Welsh were also given their own code, like the Cornish, but in March of 2006 the ONS announced that there would be a separate tick box response category for Welsh in the 2011 Census. We would therefore like to know if this decision had to be approved by the Government beforehand or does the ONS have the authority to make such decisions independently?

If the Government needs to approve the type of decision that would allow the Cornish their own separate tick box response category, would the Government be prepared to do this for Cornish? If not, are you able to provide us with a clear reason why? In view of the fact that Cornish was given its own code for the 2001 Census, would not the logical step therefore be that Cornish is now given its own separate tick box response category in 2011?

We look forward to receiving your response to theses questions."

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