SCOTLAND’S census return rate now stands at 80%, following the decision last week to extend the deadline for the survey.

Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson extended the deadline by four weeks to the end of May, citing a low response rate.

At the time of his announcement last Thursday, 77.2% of households had responded to the census.

Following the extension, opposition MSPs criticised the fact Scotland’s census had been delayed from 2021 to 2022.

Robertson said: “By allowing outstanding online and paper returns to be submitted until the end of May, we can ensure that everyone across the country has the opportunity to complete their return and help to shape important services in their community.

“Thank you to everyone who has filled in their census already. 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.

“For anyone that hasn’t completed their census, please fill it in now.”

Paul Lowe, chief executive for National Records of Scotland, said: “Thank you to the eight out of 10 householders across Scotland who have already done their bit and filled in their census.

“Can I pay particular tribute to the people of Aberdeenshire, South Ayrshire and Na h-Eileanan Siar where over 85% of households have completed and returned their census.

“If you’ve been holding off submitting – for whatever reason – please don’t miss this final opportunity to submit your response.”

He said help is available through the dedicated website, or on the free helpline on 0800 030 8308. Paper forms are available on request.