Rayleigh and Wickford MP, Mark Francois, has today welcomed the news that the Government has announced that, for the first time in the history of the census, it will include a question on previous service in HM Armed Forces. The announcement follows a campaign led by The Royal British Legion and PoppyScotland.
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 an Armed Forces Veterans question in the next census would provide the MoD and NHS, local authorities and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community.
Commenting on the news, Mark Francois MP said:
“As a former Veterans Minister, I wholeheartedly welcome this historic change to the 2021 Census to include a question on the Armed Forces, something I have long supported. Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans is a key part of making sure our public services are tailored for our armed forces community. the new census question will ensure that, as a nation, we are better equipped to deliver the best services possible for our Armed Forces community and target our resources more effectively.”
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”