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Lack of reliable statistics causes discrimination against non-religious

The British Humanist Association (BHA) has submitted evidence to the National Equality Panel, highlighting the continuing problem of a lack of statistics on religion and belief in the UK.

Naomi Phillips, BHA Public Affairs Officer, said, ‘We were invited to submit evidence to the new National Equality Panel as experts on equality, especially on the ‘religion or belief’ equality strand and have taken the opportunity to set out our particular concerns regarding data and statistics on religion and belief in the UK.’

‘We know that reliable data on people’s religious or non-religious beliefs is difficult to collect. Even more difficult to garner from surveys is what those beliefs may or may not mean to them in terms of effect on their lives or their needs in relation to public service provision.’

‘We hope that the Panel will investigate our concerns regarding the Census data on religion, which is used right across Government, other public bodies and wider, and which produced a wholly inaccurate measurement of the religiosity of the population. We believe that its underreporting of the non-religious population and over reporting of the religious population, especially Christians, has led to inequalities in public policies based on a perceived religious need for particular public provision, such as an increase in discriminatory faith schools.’


The BHA is pressing for a better question on religion or belief in the 2011 Census.

You can read the BHA’s submission to the National Equality Panel here.

For more information, contact Naomi Phillips on 020 7079 3585.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is the national charity representing the interests of the large and growing population of ethically concerned non-religious people living in the UK. It exists to support and represent such people, who seek to live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs.

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