Council and Mayor stress massive impact on borough funding
Council leader Edward Lister has echoed calls urging residents to fill in their census form as soon as possible, and warns that failing to do so could cost the borough dear.
The census is carried out every 10 years and forms have been distributed to every household in the country.
Information gleaned from the questionnaires is used to help central government and local authorities plan the services and resources people need, such as transport, housing, healthcare and education. The amount of money that local councils are given in Whitehall grants is largely based on population statistics from the census.
Cllr Lister says: "If central government is going to get its sums right then it needs up-to-date and accurate information about each borough's population.
"If people choose not to return their forms then this could have a serious financial impact on their neighbourhoods and the money that is available to fund their local services.
"The form is very simple and should only take a few minutes to complete. It is an important job for people to do if they want to make sure their local services are properly resourced."
This year, for the first time, the census can be completed online. The questionnaire should be returned via Royal Mail in the accompanying pre-paid envelope or submitted online before, on or just after March 27th (last Sunday).
Cllr Lister's words echo those of London Mayor Boris Johnson who warns that the capital could lose out on millions of pounds of funding for vital services, if Londoners fail to return their completed forms.
According to the Mayor, more than £19 billion of public spending in London is dependent on population figures. It's estimated that boroughs lose out on £600 of funding for every single resident who fails to fill out and return their form. Based on one grant alone, Mayoral number-crunchers estimate that an undercount of 10,000 people in a borough could see it lose £60 million in national funding over a ten-year period - equivalent to 155 teachers per year.
The Mayor said: "In these difficult times, it is more vital than ever that we secure the maximum funding to which the capital is entitled, to ensure Londoners get the healthcare, housing, policing and public transport they need and deserve."
For more information about the census - or to fill in your details online - visit www.census.gov.uk
March 29th, 2011