Bombardier Frank Simpson (ret), 61, formerly of the Royal Artillery, painted into his surroundings at the Portico Library. Picture: Jon Super
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 The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland, and supported by Manches
The Council is delighted that the Government has announced the 2021 census will now include a question on whether someone has served in the Armed Forces.
It has been estimated that there are 2.4m veterans currently living in the UK, 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, charities and local authorities such as the City Council with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community, whether they are still serving, veterans, and their family members.
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.
Councillor Tommy Judge, lead member for Veterans for Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester has a long and proud connection to our country’s Armed Forces. The news that veterans, as well as their families, will be counted in the next census is a significant step forward in ensuring that their needs are met. As a Council, we will be able to use this new information to tailor our services, ensuring that servicemen and women know they can turn to us should they ever need our help.”
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.”