Politics: Census returns help shape important services in the community
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Council elections have now passed, and I would like to say a big thank you to every candidate, every activist and every council official who took part in the campaigning and vote count on the day.
The work that goes into elections is huge and for all you see on social media there’s even more effort that goes on behind the scenes.
I was thrilled that in Aberdeenshire, 21 SNP councillors were elected, with an increase in vote share of 2.8%.
I know how much hard work has gone in to campaigning and it is clear voters did too.
As I have previously said, decisions are made by those who show up.
If the elections have got you interested in how local politics shapes every part of your day-to-day life, then there are plenty of ways to get stuck in.
I would also like to say a big thank you to the candidates who put themselves forward but didn’t quite make it this time.
I know how much it will feel disappointing now, but your time will come and the contribution you’ve made by simply taking part, being part of the discourse and debate will go a long way even now.
I am incredibly proud of three of my own members of staff who took part in the council elections and gave it their all.
My office manager Gwyneth Petrie has returned as the SNP group leader, and I look forward to working with her.
Households across Aberdeenshire and Scotland have been given extra time to complete their census returns.
You still have until the end of May to do so, and I would like to encourage anyone who hasn’t to take the time out if their schedule.
It takes only a short time to do but is incredibly important.
More than two million households have already completed the census – more than 77 per cent of the total.
The National Records of Scotland (NRS) has offered the extension until the end of May to ensure everyone can complete their return and help shape important services in their community.
Around 68,000 households have begun their census returns online but have not yet completed them and a similar number of requested paper forms have yet to be returned.
It is important to emphasise that every household is legally required to complete their returns and Scots are reminded that failing to do so could result in prosecution and a fine of up to £1000.
The results of the Census help local authorities, businesses and the government plan a wide range of vital public services to improve the lives of those living and working in Scotland. The census also becomes part of our history.
It is therefore essential that we take further steps to maximise participation, particularly given the wider challenges people have faced in recent times.
I would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet completed it to do so -
It is vital that we secure as high a response rate as possible so that the census can be effective in delivering its many benefits for future public services. For those who have already completed their census, thank you.