Jackie Baillie MSP welcomes Census change to include Armed Forces community

The Armed Forces community, civic dignitaries including Jackie Baillie MSP (bottom right) and youth organisations turn out in Dumbarton and Helensburgh for Remembrance Sunday. Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Democrat reporter

For the first time in the history of the Census, there will be a question on service in the Armed Forces following a campaign led by Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion, supported by Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency.

Jackie Baillie MSP is delighted that the Scottish Parliament have announced the 2021 Census will now include a question to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces.

Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion, who led the campaign, are at the heart of national networks offering a range of support and services to the Armed Forces community. The decision to include the question on the 2021 census will provide Poppyscotland, 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. 

Jackie Baillie MSP said: “ 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 I welcome this historic change to the 2021 Census to include a question on the Armed Forces.”

Mark Collins, Interim Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said: “We would like to thank the scores of politicians from across the spectrum at Holyrood and Westminster, several local authorities and our volunteers and supporters who came together to support our Count Them In campaign. I am also extremely grateful to National Records of Scotland for their engaging approach, working closely with us throughout the process from devising potential questions through to testing and considering the outputs.

“This is an extremely proud moment for Poppyscotland. 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.”    

Constituents can find out more about the  campaign by visiting the Poppyscotland website,https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/poppyscotland-secures-census-question-for-armed-forces-community/ , or by posting their own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.

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

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