Armed Forces service to be included in next Census

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.

The Royal British Legion, which led the campaign, is at the heart of a national network offering a range of support and services to the Armed Forces community.

The decision to include the question on the 2021 census will provide the Legion, as well as public bodies, local authorities, and other military charities with valuable information to ensure they can best meet the needs of serving personnel, veterans and their families.

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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.

The Royal British Legion has supported the campaign

However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group. 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.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson, who welcomed the changes, said: “Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans is a key part of making sure our public services are tailored for our armed forces community. I welcome this historic change to the 2021 Census to include a question on the Armed Forces.”

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."

Constituents can find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website, www.rbl.org.uk/campaigns, or by posting their own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.