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Armed Forces Pension Scheme

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what differences there are between the death-in-service gratuities payable under the armed forces pension scheme and those payable in similar circumstances to members of the Brigade of Gurkhas; and if he will make a statement. [119685]

The death-in-service gratuity paid under the armed forces pension scheme varies according to whether or not the death is considered attributable to, or aggravated by, service. If the death is considered non-attributable, a tax-free basic death-in-service lump sum is payable, this is approximately equivalent to the individual's representative annual rate of pay. If the death is considered attributable to service, in addition to the basic death-in-service lump sum, a tax-free attributable gratuity is also payable; this increases the overall rate of death-in-service benefit to between one and 1½ times the individual's representative annual rate of pay.The pension and gratuity arrangements for Gurkha soldiers, which are different to those of the armed forces pension scheme, stem from the 1947 Tri-partite Agreement and are linked to Indian Army rates. An examination of these arrangements in 1999 resulted in substantially increased pension payments for all British Gurkha pensioners and enhanced gratuity provision in the event of death in service.Similar to the wider Army, the death-in-service gratuity payable to a Gurkha varies according to whether or not the death is considered attributable to, or aggravated by, service. If death-in-service is attributable then the Death-in-Service Gratuity payable to a Gurkha is the same as that paid to the equivalent rank in the wider British Army. If a death in service is not attributable, the normal provisions of the Gurkha pension and gratuities scheme apply, and the death element of the Death Cum-Retirement Gratuity is payable.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce the outcome of the reviews of the war pensions and armed forces pensions scheme. [120003]

I expect to announce the outcome of the reviews of the armed forces pension and compensation arrangements before the summer recess.