I am supporting the Royal British Legion’s ‘Count Them In’ campaign. This campaign is to add new questions to the 2021 census so that we can better understand where members of the Armed Forces community are and what their needs might be.
By adding new questions to the 2021 census we can improve our understanding of this unique community and ensure that politicians, charities and service providers fully meet the needs of our serving personnel, veterans and their families.
Since the Armed Forces Covenant was introduced into law in 2011 there has been a growing need for more information to help people from the Armed Forces community. The Royal British Legion has previously undertaken major research into this, and some local authorities and other charities have also sampled the population to gain further insight. However, the fact remains that we do not know exactly how many veterans, reservists and dependents there are, where they are and basic information about them.
The only way that comprehensive information of this kind could be obtained would be through the inclusion of questions about the Armed Forces community in the next national census, which will be held in 2021.
This is an important campaign. If we are unable to learn where our Armed Service personnel, veterans and their families are we will be unable to provide them the support they deserve.
Our Armed Forces, and their families, have continually been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and liberties. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with them and give them the care and compassion they deserve.
I am proud to support this campaign as it will make a huge difference to our Armed Services, whilst being such a simple change. I hope that the Government will take note of this campaign and implement the British Legion’s recommendations.