The Scottish Government has announced the next Census will now include a question to provide information on whether someone has served in HM Armed Forces.
This inclusion follows the Count them In campaign, led by Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion and supported by Kenneth Gibson MSP.
The census is a count of Scotland’s population usually conducted every ten years by National Records of Scotland and it provides vital information to inform a range of decisions on future schools, hospitals, roads and transport provision.
Scotland’s next census is being moved to March 2022 due to the impact of COVID-19.
The decision to include the question on the 2022 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.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“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 2022 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 2022 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.”