East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson MP 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 in the next census.
It has been estimated there are between 6.5m and 6.7m 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.
Jo met with representatives of The Royal British Legion and David, a veteran, to discuss the campaign in Parliament last month.
Jo said: “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 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 servicewomen, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics. 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 Jo for adding her support to our campaign.
For more on the campaign, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk/census