A new question on the Armed Forces in the 2021 Census has been welcomed by Rushcliffe Borough Council, following a successful campaign led by The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland and supported by the authority.
The Government has announced that next year’s Census will now include a question allowing residents to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces, following legislation passed last month.
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.
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.
Including 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.
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion Cllr Debbie Mason said: “We welcome this historic change which will help us further our understanding of the needs and support required by veterans in Rushcliffe.
“This new information will aid our efforts to ensure our services are appropriately tailored for serving personnel, veterans and their families wherever possible.
“I look forward to further supporting our local Armed Forces Communities with the help of this new and significant update to next year’s 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.
“We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and helped us to achieve this historical success.”
Residents can find out more about the campaign by visiting the Royal British Legion website at www.rbl.org.uk/campaign.
Those wishing to show their support for the successful campaign are invited to share a pledge of support on social using the hashtag #CountThemIn.