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Gurkhas: Pensions

Volume 496: debated on Monday 20 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gurkha soldiers who retired prior to 1997 would have qualified for a British Army pension given their length of service, if eligibility for a British Army pension was extended to such soldiers. (287432)

There are no plans to extend eligibility to transfer from the Gurkha pension scheme (GPS) to the armed force pension scheme (AFPS) to those Gurkhas who retired before 1 July 1997. Their pension arrangements have been found to be fair and lawful in two Judicial Reviews and a High Court appeal.

However, of the recipients of the GPS who retired before 1 July 1997 (which includes Gurkha veterans, their widows or dependants), it is estimated that about 1,800, would, by length of service or because of disability, be qualified for an immediate pension from the date of their discharge under the AFPS. A further 8,800 who were discharged after 1 April 1975 would be qualified for a preserved pension under the AFPS from the age of 60.

Those Gurkha service pensioners who served for less than 22 years and who discharged before 1 April 1975, would not be entitled to a service pension since there were no preserved pensions prior to the introduction of AFPS 75.