Calls for new questions to be added to national census
Southampton City Council has declared its support for The Royal British Legion’s ‘Count Them In’ campaign, which calls for questions on the Armed Forces community to be included in the next UK Census. A motion was fully backed in the Full Council meeting last Wednesday, with the Council moving to support and promote The Royal British Legion’s call to include a new topic in the 2021 census that concerns military service and membership of the Armed Forces community.
It is estimated that there are currently between 6.5 million and 6.7 million 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. Including new questions on 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.
Leader of Southampton City Council, Councillor Christopher Hammond said: “It is deeply disappointing that we do not currently know the figures relating to those who have served their country, or their whereabouts. It cannot be right that our Servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that’s why Southampton City Council are only too happy to back the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census. We count on them – let’s count them in.”
Armed Forces champion at Southampton City Council and Redbridge ward Councillor, Catherine McEwing said: "Southampton City Council looks after the needs of over 245,000 residents, many of whom are current or ex-service personnel. It's essential we also recognise and support them, and their families, for their service. We're proud members of the Armed Forces Covenant, and we're encouraging other businesses and organisations to sign up.”
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 adding questions to the 2021 UK 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 [Insert Council] for adding their support to our campaign: together I’m confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community.”
You can find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website, or by posting your own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.
Pictured: Councillor Catherine McEwing and the Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews and the Mayoress Mrs Amanda Barnes-Andrews.