The Cornish could be recognised in the 2021 Census if the latest efforts by Cornwall Council are successful.
Last week, Cornwall Council Deputy Leader, Julian German, along with Cornwall Councillors and Council officers met with senior officers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in Truro to discuss the inclusion of tick boxes for the Cornish and Cornish language on the Census.
In March, in its Fourth Opinion to the UK Government on the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the Council of Europe made a specific recommendation to the ONS stating it should “take the necessary measures to include the possibility to self-identify as Cornish, through a ‘tick-box’ in the next census”.
In the last census in 2011, the Cornish did not have the option to tick a box to say they identified as Cornish like the Welsh, Scottish, Irish and Northern Irish and could only write Cornish under the ‘other’ option.
German said the meeting was an important milestone. “Cornish people have a proud and distinct identity. We are proud of our history and language and want this to be reflected in the way the census captures data so it’s not an ‘other’ field in the language and identity section.
“We believe this will provide a more accurate reflection of the number of Cornish in Cornwall and across the UK.
“An accurate count of Cornish language speakers is a key factor in influencing funding and devolution – this is key to helping us get a better deal and more funding for Cornish people and culture.”
Although no commitment has been made from the ONS on the inclusion of the Cornish as a tick box option, the office reaffirmed its commitment to support ethnic groups across the UK.