Over the past few years there have been several stories in the local press about the population of Boston and the fact that it was believed there were more people living here than appeared to be the case from the last census.
As Westminster relies on these figures to allocate cash to the area, many have suggested that Boston was receiving less than its fair share: last week’s front page story seems to prove that this may be the case.
But we have to ask how it is that there is such a discrepancy in the figures?
One of the obvious reasons appears to be that not everyone filled in the last census form, for whatever reason. Despite the fact that enumerators went round to every house in the borough there must have been many that did not make a return.
In these days of computers it seems strange that there appears to be no ‘link up’ between the census office and the NHS. If there were, would it not be possible to identify those on doctors’ lists but not on the census figures?
Of course, it may well be that it’s one of those cases where records are classed as ‘confidential’ and can’t be passed on.
I would suggest that we could also be arguing that – to quote a regular phrase – it’s against our human rights to be deprived of money we are entitled to!
There seems to be something wrong somewhere: we know there are more people living here than seems to be the official number; we now know there is a discrepancy in the figures; we also know that if government departments (HMRC for example) want to make enquiries about us they can usually find out what they want to know.
So, if they can use computer records etc for some things what is to stop them doing it for this? Is it because they don’t want to acknowledge the situation? Haven’t they read the much-lauded report prepared by the borough council, which we were assured had gone ‘to the top’?
Whatever the reason, Boston and this area is still missing out.