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Stand up and be counted! 20.01.11

Sutton Council is calling on all residents to stand up and be counted as part of the census.

Sutton

Every ten years the Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out a census to find out more about the people who live in England and Wales, and about the make up of local neighbourhoods.

The next count will take place on Sunday 27 March when questionnaires will be sent to around 25 million households to complete, including more than 70,000 in Sutton.

But the council fears an inaccurate count could see it miss out on millions in Government grants because its funding is calculated on population.

Cllr Graham Tope, Sutton's Executive Member for Community Safety, Leisure and Libraries, said: "The census is very important for everyone in Sutton. Having accurate information about the numbers and types of people in our borough can make a huge difference to levels of funding that local councils receive from Government.

"It is vital that we have accurate figures to help us get fair resources for the borough. It will help us plan better and focus our services where they are most needed, especially for the vulnerable and hard to reach communities.

"Because of this we really need local people to help us and the Office of National Statistics get as many people as possible to take part and fill in their census form.

A total of 93 per cent of households in Sutton completed the 2001 census. This was 10 per cent above the London average and only one per cent below the national figure.

Council chiefs are keen to match or better this performance because the way council understands its population and designs its services - and the amount of funding the council, the NHS, police and other public services receives - depends on the population counted during the census.

The 2001 count recorded the borough's population as 179,667.

It is now estimated by the ONS that Sutton's population has risen by more than 10,000 to more than 192,000 – an increase of 5.7 per cent.

The council is encouraging everyone in the borough to fill in their census form.

But it will target in particular the "hard to reach" groups like students and people aged over 80, who number more than 12,000 and make up six per cent of the borough's population

All details are kept confidential, and personal details will not be made public for 100 years under current rules.

Questions are asked on a number of topics including work, health, national identity, citizenship, ethnic background, education, second homes, language, religion and marital status and apply to everyone living or staying in the household on 27 March.

Last updated: Monday, 14 February 2011

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