A HAMPSHIRE charity has commended a move to include new questions on the 2021 census.

Transgender support charity Chrysalis says the new question - which could be included if a government review is approved - would be "great."

The Office for National Statistics - which is based in Titchfield - say the "digital first" 2021 census will help shape public services to meet the needs of the LGBT+ community in the years to come.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) - which is based in Titchfield - has recommended a new voluntary question on sexual orientation for those aged 16 and over.

And there will also be a voluntary question on gender identity in England and Wales for those aged over 16.

CEO of Chrysalis transgender support charity Andi Maratos said: "“It is great that voluntary questions on sexuality and gender identity are being included in the census, making the clear statement that the government values LGBTQ+ people and is committed to supporting anti-discrimination duties under the Equality Act.

"However, the census is filled out by the head of the household rather than by each individual and we know many LGBTQ+ people still live in fear of coming out and losing everything.

"Chrysalis welcomes the collection of data on gender identity as this will help in the development of inclusive services and those specifically aimed at supporting trans and questioning people.”

The 2021 census will also for the first time collect information on veterans of the UK armed forces in a bid to enable monitoring of the Armed Forces covenant - the deal between the country and those who serve it.

It comes as central government published their White Paper for the census - which includes changes from the last one released in 2011.

ONS said it was always the intention that the LGBT+ questions would be voluntary - and they say the data gathered will make it easier to monitor inequalities under the anti-discrimination duties of the Equality Act 2010 and to directly plan public services and support for these groups.

Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, said: “The proposals for the 2021 Census will help decision-makers and citizens get comprehensive data on our society and provide an unparalleled snapshot of how people live and work in our modern society.

“The census is essential for informing policy, planning and funding decisions, across all national and local public services.”

National Statistician, John Pullinger, said: “The Census is for everyone; it gives us all the opportunity to stand up and be counted in democratic debate and policy decisions.

“We have designed it with people at its heart and we consulted widely to ensure it meets the needs of society. Unlike previous Censuses, it will be digital first which will make it easier to complete electronically, with help available for those who need it.”

The date for the digital first census has been confirmed as March 21 2021, subject to parliamentary approval.

Information gathered by ONS will ensure vital public services can be targeted into communities and groups where they are needed, in 2021 and beyond.

ONS is transforming the way it collects, processes and shares data and the next census is part of a wider drive towards making more use of data already held and moving surveys online.

In line with previous censuses, ONS will hold a census rehearsal in October 2019 and is currently reviewing which local authority areas will be included.