Tom Blenkinsop, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, declared his support for The Royal British Legion’s campaign after meeting with ex-service personnel on June 13.
The ‘Count Them In’ campaign’s aim is to improve information about the Armed Forces community in the UK by including Armed Forces related questions in the 2021 UK Census.
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. However, little is 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.
Following the meeting Tom said:
“It was an honour to meet with members of the Armed Forces community who, along with their families, make huge sacrifices for the freedoms we all enjoy.
“If we as a country and as politicians want to offer a better deal to our Armed Forces community we need to know more about them and their needs.
“It cannot be right that our Servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that’s why I’m backing the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census. We count on them – let’s count them in.”
Chris Simpkins, 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 Tom for adding his 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, www.britishlegion.org.uk/census, or by posting your own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.