Islington Council concern over 'lost Londoners'
- Credit: Archant
Islington Council has voiced concerns over thousands of people who were not included in the 2021 Census due to the pandemic.
According to the census held on March 21 last year, 216,000 people were usually resident in Islington – 30,000 fewer than expected based on population estimates.
The council is joining Westminster and Camden councils for the “Lost Londoners Count” campaign which calls for census figures to be adjusted to reflect real local populations.
Census data is used to determine funding for local areas to pay for GPs, NHS services, transport links and council services.
Councillor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, leader of Islington Council, said: “As we work to create a more equal Islington, it’s vital we have the funding local people deserve for strong public services, including GPs, transport and council services.
“We're concerned the census data may not show the full picture because the count took place in lockdown, when people’s lives and living patterns were very different to usual, and many people who have since returned to London were elsewhere.”
Last year’s census took place during the third national Covid-19 lockdown and Islington Council believes this may have caused fewer people than usual to reside in London.
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It argues that students may have stayed at home or abroad, other residents may have temporarily lived with family outside of London or in their second-homes elsewhere.
The 2021 Census count for Islington is approximately 13 per cent lower than the Office for National Statistics mid-year estimates for 2020, the most recent official population estimate available.
The Greater London Authority population is also around 11pc lower than population estimates for 2021.
Cllr Comer-Schwartz said: “As part of the Lost Londoners Count campaign, we’re asking for a commitment that the census data is reviewed and adjusted before it is used as a basis to work out local funding or plan local services.
“Islington can ill afford to lose millions of pounds badly needed for public services for local people, especially after the effects of many years of Government cuts.”
London Councils, a cross-party group, estimates around £4 billion of government funding to London local authorities relies directly or indirectly on census population figures.