Count Them In

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Brendan O’Hara MP pledges to Count Armed Forces Community In

15 June 2016

Poppyscotland’s Count Them In campaign:

SNP Defence Spokesperson, Brendan O’Hara MP, has declared his support for The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland’s Count Them In campaign, which calls for questions on the Armed Forces community to be included in the next 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, 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.

Brendan met with representatives of The Royal British Legion, veterans and Service personnel to discuss the campaign in Parliament on Monday 13 June.

Brendan said of the meeting: “It was a pleasure to meet with members of the Armed Forces community who, along with their families, make huge sacrifices in the service of our country. I also enjoyed meeting with staff from The Royal British Legion and hearing more about their Count Them In campaign.

I was very disappointed to learn that we currently know more about the UK’s Jedi community than we do about our Armed Forces. 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 Brendan for adding his support to our campaign: together I’m confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community”

Constituents can find out more about the  campaign by visiting the campaign website, www.britishlegion.org.uk/census, or by posting their own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.

For more information please contact Bethan Herbert, Public Relations Office, The Royal British Legion on bherbert@britishlegion.org.uk or 0333 011 4396

About The Royal British Legion and Poppyscotland

The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation’s biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy. www.britishlegion.org.uk

Poppyscotland merged The Royal British Legion in June 2011, although it continues to operate as a distinct charity within the Legion’s group of charities. Poppyscotland is responsible for running the Scottish Poppy Appeal, which raises over £2.8m each year. Poppyscotland is the leading charity supporting serving and ex-Service men and women and their families in Scotland, providing a wide range of services to meet their needs, both directly and through enabling grants to other service providers.

#CountThemIn

The #CountThemIn campaign was launched by The Royal British Legion on May 16th with a series of photographs featuring four veterans painted into their surroundings to highlight that in the current census, they are invisible amongst the general population. The pictures show the veterans hidden at the Houses of Parliament in London, a library in Manchester, a café in Plymouth and a rugby ground in Cardiff. For more information or copies of the images please contact bherbert@britishlegion.org.uk

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