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Anger Over 'Offensive' Form Mistake

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10:48am 1st February 2013
(Updated 10:48am 1st February 2013)

There is anger about a form which forces you to tick the same box if you are Cornish, a traveller or a Gypsy.

Cornwall Council is saying sorry after lumping everyone together on a benefits application.

The question was designed to ask about the claimant's ethnic background.

In a statement the council said: "We would like to thank the individual who has pointed out the inappropriate wording on this form and apologise unreservedly for any offence this may have caused.

"We are already in the process of updating the form as part of the welfare reform changes.

"In the meantime, we will ensure that any remaining forms in circulation will be manually amended.form

"We are very proud of our culture and heritage and are committed to promoting the Cornish identity as well as celebrating the diverse cultures which make up our communities."

Writing on his blog Lib Dem councillor Alex Folkes said: "Some people will suggest it is offensive. And they are right. Not because being likened to a gypsy or traveller is an insult. It isn't.

"But because the two backgrounds are so entirely different.

"What Cornwall Council has done in designing this form is to create a 'bucket' category for anyone who doesn't appear to fit into 'normal' definitions.

"It's offensive to Cornish people and offensive to gypsies and travellers."

Mike Chappell, from the Celtic League, said: "Do you know, I would probably have actually drawn my own box, written Cornish next to it and put a tick in it. In Cornwall we take a very proud attitude towards our history and heritage, and our culture. It would seem there was a bit of a lack of foresight and people wishing to proof-read the forms.

"They encouraged people to actually declare themselves Cornish, and why not, we are. So, yeah, to be lumped together with two other distinct groups is a little bit surprising quite honestly."

10:48am 1st February 2013

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