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City of York Council welcomes Census change to Count Armed Forces Community In

Published Tuesday, 21 July 2020

For the first time in the history of the Census, there'll be a question on service in the Armed Forces following a campaign by The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland, and supported by the council.

The council is delighted that the Government has announced the 2021 Census will now include a question 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. The decision to include 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.

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 question 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.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Armed Forces Champion and leader of City of York Council, said:

"Having a better understanding of the profile and needs of veterans in York is a key part of making sure our services are tailored for serving personnel, veterans and their families."

"The feedback we received from the Armed Forces Community survey we carried out last year has been incredibly useful in helping to shape services for the furture and we hope that the census question will help support this work. We are incredibly proud of York’s reservists, armed forces personnel and veterans and I am so pleased that the impact and legacy of armed forces personnel across the UK is being recognised in this way."

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. It will ensure that we, along with other charities and service providers, can deliver the best service possible to them when and where it is needed most."

"This is something we have been striving towards for many years, it will have a huge impact on service personnel, veterans and their families well into the future, as the outcome will allow us to provide more effective care and support to those who are in need. We are delighted and are extremely grateful to everyone who has supported the campaign and helped us to achieve this historical success”

Visit www.rbl.org.uk to find out more about the campaign, or post your own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn.

‘Count Them In’ is part of The Royal British Legion’s ongoing campaign work to help champion the interests, welfare, and contributions of the Armed Forces Community.