Poppyscotland campaign secures census victory


Next year’s census will include a question about respondents’ veteran status. 

17th June 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A charity campaign has secured a major victory after legislation was passed to add a “veterans’ question” to the 2021 Scottish census.

Poppyscotland said the move will provide a much more accurate picture of the size, location and profile of the Armed Forces community in Scotland, allowing for transformational change in services supporting veterans.

Since 2015, Poppyscotland and The Royal British Legion have been calling for the introduction of a question that would identify members of the Armed Forces community through their Count Them In campaign.

Thanks to their campaigning, and cross-party support from MSPs, the National Record of Scotland will now add a question on veteran status to next year’s census.

Mark Bibbey, Poppyscotland chief executive, said: “As a nation, we promise to provide lifelong care and support for those who serve our country. By including a veterans’ question in the census, public bodies and charities will be much better placed to provide the services that are needed, where they are needed to members of our Armed Forces community.

“Being able to base future decisions on the much larger data set produced by the census will vastly enhance our understanding, our ability to predict future needs and enable us to direct our charitable resources where they will have the greatest impact.

“We will analyse and interrogate the data from the veterans’ question, alongside wider data arising from the census to shape our future welfare provision. We want to understand more about the issues affecting the Armed Forces community, especially when this differs from the rest of the population. Data from the census will also enable us to undertake a mapping exercise so we can accurately plot where the Armed Forces community is clustered. In doing so, we will then be able to direct our resources in an even more effective and efficient way in the future.”

Plans for the 2021 Census, including the addition of the veterans’ question, were passed by the Scottish Parliament and received Royal Assent at the Privy Council in March 2020. The regulations underpinning the legislation came into force yesterday.