Home U.K Census 2021 farce: Fury as pensioners threatened with £1,000 fine despite returning...

Census 2021 farce: Fury as pensioners threatened with £1,000 fine despite returning forms

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Multiple letters warning “you must complete the census by law” have also been sent to a number of people who had died. Field officers have been visiting those who failed to submit their census warning it is a legal requirement.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is organising the census, insists “there is no IT issue” and anyone who has already filled in the forms should “ignore a reminder letter”.

A national population census takes place every ten years to provide an accurate summary of the UK’s inhabitants and help allocate Government services.

The 2021 edition was originally supposed to be completed on March 21, but the ONS has said they will continue receiving submissions into next month.

Speaking to Mail Online Manchester-based Michelle Gregg revealed her mother has received warning letters despite the census having been completed.

She said: “My 89-year-old Mother has no online access so completed a form which I posted on 20/3.

“Now received 2nd chase letter threatening £1k fine – she is very upset. How can I check whether you have it?”

Gareth Clayton added: “My dad passed away on the 6th September 2020 and my mum of 82 years old has received 3 letters with my dad’s name on chasing him up to complete the Census or he will get a fine of £1000.

“On all three occasions, I’ve contacted them and advised them that my dad has passed away. I’ve also provided them with a death certificate twice to provide them with official documentation.

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“This morning my mum called me to say that she’s had a fourth letter in this morning’s post and she’s very worried about getting a fine.

“Apart from the inconvenience, it’s not very nice for my mum to keep getting quite threatening letters when she’s living on her own and especially during the current climate of the global pandemic when she’s been very lonely and a little scared for the last year or so.”

One man said his 91-year-old mother received a visit from a census field officer on March 21, despite that being the day people were supposed to send the forms back.

Addressing the Mail Online he commented: “Who sends people out chasing the day of deadline and frightening to death, clearly old people on their own?

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“This is so wrong and needs addressing although now it’s too late.”

A number of people contacted the ONS’s census support team on Twitter to complain about harassment.

One said: “Hello, my Nanna died in October 2020 and the house has been vacant and is now sold.

“You have sent 3 forms to the house so far but no one is there to answer the questions.

“Can I please request that the letters are no longer sent?”

A second added: “My parents who are dealing with cancer! Filled in form sent it off to you. You’ve now sent 2 people to her door to demand the form and now sent her an abuse letter saying you will fine her £1,000 this is not acceptable.”

In a statement the ONS admitted a small number of people had been contacted after submitting their forms.

They said: “There is no IT issue. We have made Census 2021 the easiest ever to complete and more than nine out of 10 households have already submitted their form to help shape services like school places and GP surgeries.

“We are aware of a small number of cases where people have been contacted after responding.

“This could be because the questionnaire was not submitted correctly online or forms have only recently been posted back.

“Anyone who has already completed, should tell a field officer who visits and ignore a reminder letter.”



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