CENSUS staff are to ramp up doorstep visits as the revised deadline for completing the survey approaches after already helping 1million households.

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) said their workers would offer people extra in-person assistance to fill in the paper or online versions ahead of the May 31 cut-off.

The deadline was last month extended by four weeks after almost a quarter of households looked set to miss the original May 1 date.

Households which miss the new deadline face fines of up to £1000.

As of yesterday, 2,166,528 households, or 82.6 per cent, had completed the census, up from 80% at the start of May.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie said that amounted to the census "being completed at a snail’s pace".

He said: "We can’t afford for this once-in-a-decade opportunity to inform the delivery of public services to fall short.

“The Scottish Government needs to be open about why progress continues to be slow and what more it will now do to resolve this headache. If the plan is now to start knocking doors then we need to know how many people are being drafted in. With another deadline looming there is no time to wait.”

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson said: “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. 

“Census data informs how and where public money is spent on vital services, from the building of new schools and hospitals to improving transport links and understanding health needs.

“From today, households will be offered extra help to complete their census at their door by a member of our team.

"I would encourage everyone to take up this offer and fill in their census as soon as possible.”

NRS Chief Executive Paul Lowe added: “This information helps to ensure that the right services are provided in the right places.

"It is used by the Scottish Government, local councils, charities and a host of other organisations who provide essential services.

“I would urge everyone who has not completed it to do so immediately and before the end of May, to avoid the risk of prosecution.”

Designed to help design and improve public services, the census asks questions on the types of accommodation people stay in, household relationships, age, sex, health and employment status. 

New questions this year include use of British Sign Language, passports held, armed forces history and new voluntary questions on sexual orientation and trans status.

Census letters have been issued to more than 2.7m households representing 5.5m people.

A census of the population has been taken every 10 years in Scotland since 1801, with the exception of 1941, because of World War Two.

The census due in 2021 was delayed in Scotland for a year because of the Covid pandemic, although it went ahead as planned south of the border.

A helpline is available on 0800 030 8308 which can provide a paper questionnaire or language interpretation. Further Information and guidance is available at census.gov.scot