Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has declared her support for The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland's 'Count Them In' campaign, which calls for the Armed Forces community to be included as a topic in the next Census.
It has been estimated that there are currently between 6.5 million and 6.7 million members of the Armed Forces community living in the UK, representing about a tenth of the population. However, little is currently known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group. Inclusion of this topic 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.
Caroline met with representatives of The Royal British Legion and David, a veteran, to discuss the campaign in Parliament.
"Members of the Armed Forces community make huge sacrifices in the service of our country. I enjoyed meeting with David and staff from The Royal British Legion and hearing more about their Count Them In campaign.
I was very disappointed to learn that we currently know more about the UK's Jedi community than we do about our Armed Forces. It cannot be right that our Servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that's why I'm backing the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census. We count on them – let's count them in."
Charles Byrne, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, said:
"As a nation we promise to provide lifelong care and support for those who serve our country. By including the Armed Forces community in the 2021 Census, we can help public bodies and charities deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community, when and where it is needed most. We thank Caroline for adding her support to our campaign: together I'm confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community"
You can find out more about the campaign by visiting www.britishlegion.org.uk/census. You can also post your own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.