Kingston Council backs ‘Count Them In’ campaign

Kingston Council officially declared its support for The Royal British Legion’s ‘Count Them In’ campaign on Monday.

The campaign has called for new questions in the next UK Census to collect data on the Armed Forces community.

The data would provide public bodies, local authorities, and charities with valuable information to support the development of services for the community.

Councillor Kevin Davis, leader of Kingston Council, said: “It cannot be right that our Servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that’s why Kingston Council is only too happy to back the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census.

“We count on them – let’s count them in.”

Kingston Council received a request for support from the Royal British Legion’s Malden and Coombe branch in August and voted unanimously to pledge support to the national campaign at a council meeting on 17 October.

Lynne Finnerty, a committee member at the Malden and Coombe branch, said: “Our members are delighted at the council’s declaration which is a direct result of our branch request.”

Finnerty also welcomed the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) intention to recommend inclusion of this topic in the 2021 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.

Charles Byrne, director-general of The Royal British Legion, said: We thank Kingston Council for adding their support to our campaign: together I’m confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community.”

The #CountThemIn campaign was launched in 2016 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.

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