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Gurkhas: Pensions

Volume 501: debated on Thursday 26 November 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has made an estimate of the cost to the Exchequer of providing welfare benefits and pensions on terms equivalent to those of the armed forces pension scheme for those Gurkha ex-servicemen who retired prior to 1 July 1997; and if he will make a statement. (300422)

[holding answer 23 November 2009]: I have been asked to reply.

There have been no recent estimates made of the cost of welfare benefits for those former members of the Brigade of Gurkhas and their dependants who have already settled in the UK or may choose to do so as a result of the discretions announced earlier this year. Nor has there been any estimate of the total cost of welfare benefits for those Gurkhas still serving who choose to settle in the UK when they leave the armed forces.

When the publication of the revised guidance was announced in April 2009, it was estimated, following cross-Government consultation, that the likely annual cost of allowing all former Gurkhas to settle in the UK would be £1.4 billion.

The cost of providing retired Gurkhas with Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) equivalent pension benefits for all pensionable service before 1 July 1997 has been estimated at £1.5 billion over 20 years.