On behalf of CURDS, Professor Mike Coombes submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Select Committee on the future of the Census. The inquiry focussed on the use of Census data within the social sciences, especially to enable evidence-based policy by Government.
The conclusions of the report cast doubt on the replaceability of Census data and, in so doing, it reflected the bulk of evidence received. The written evidence from CURDS emphasised:
• data from a Census will be used for decades or even centuries; gaps due to cost-cutting cannot be filled later
• there are no effective alternatives to the Census for small area data (critical for neighbourhood scale policy)
• there are no substitutes for some Census datasets, such as on journey-to-work (nb. some of these datasets are required by the EU)
• the claim that the Census data is expensive is simply wrong on any decade-long analysis considering its myriad uses
• the suggestion that Census information is increasingly difficult to collect has been proved wrong by the experience in 2011
Published: 24th September 2012