Census change to count armed forces in community welcomed

STAFFORDSHIRE'S armed forces and their families are set to benefit from improved support, as a specific question relating to them is to be included in the 2021 Census.

The decision to include the military service question on the next census follows a campaign led by the Royal British Legion and supported by Staffordshire County Council.

It will mean that public bodies including local authorities, other organisations and military charities will have access to valuable information to ensure they can best meet the needs of serving personnel, veterans and their families.

Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council and a former member of the armed forces himself, pictured, said: “We have a long and proud military heritage here in Staffordshire with a large armed forces community and it’s important we support them in whatever ways we can.

“Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans in Staffordshire is a key part of making sure our services are tailored for serving personnel, veterans and their families. It’s great news that the next census will include a specific question on the Armed Forces.”

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.

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.

“This is something we have been striving towards for many years, it will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future, as the outcome will allow us to provide more effective care and support to those who are in need. We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and helped us to achieve this historical success”

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

Count Them In’ is part of The Royal British Legion’s ongoing campaign work to help champion the interests, welfare, and contributions of the Armed Forces Community.


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