County council welcomes census change to include Armed Forces community
For the first time in the history of the census, there will be a question on service in the Armed Forces following a campaign led by The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland, supported by Gloucestershire County Council.
The county council is delighted that the Government has announced the 2021 Census will now include a question to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces, following legislation passed this month.
The Royal British Legion, which led the ‘Count Them In’ campaign, is at the heart of a national network offering a range of support and services to the Armed Forces community.
It has been estimated that there are 2.4 million veterans currently living in Great Britain, who make up part of a wider ex-Service community which includes their spouses, partners, dependent children and widow(er)s.
However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group, so including an Armed Forces question in the next census would provide public bodies, local authorities and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community.
Cllr Shaun Parsons, Armed Forces champion for Gloucestershire County Council, said: “Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans in Gloucestershire is a key part of making sure our services are tailored for serving personnel, veterans and their families. I welcome this historic change to include a question on the Armed Forces to the 2021 Census.”
Charles Byrne, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, said: “This is an extremely proud moment for the Legion. After leading a successful campaign, the fact that a military question will be in the 2021 Census will significantly improve our understanding of the Armed Forces community which up until now has been very limited. It will ensure that we, along with other charities and service providers, can deliver the best service possible to them when and where it is needed most.
“We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and helped us to achieve this historical success.”