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Gurkhas

Volume 711: debated on Monday 1 June 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of Gurkha soldiers, who retired before 1997 and still live abroad, are known to want to move to the United Kingdom. [HL3271]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many retired Gurkhas are in receipt of pensions; and what was the aggregate value of pensions remitted to Nepal in the last year for which figures are available. [HL3556]

We believe that there are around 45,000 retired Gurkhas, most of whom live in Nepal. Of these, some 26,500 are retired British Army Gurkhas in receipt of service pensions, mostly under the terms of the Gurkha Pension Scheme but some also under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

There are about 10,500 veterans/veterans’ widows who do not qualify for a service pension but who receive a welfare pension from the Gurkha Welfare Scheme, which is the field arm of the independent charity, the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Over half of these are Gurkhas who served in the pre-independence Indian army.

The remainder are veterans who did not serve for long enough to qualify for a service pension and who are not yet old enough (60 years) or needy enough to qualify for a Welfare Pension. Many would have been made redundant with less than 10 years’ service when the Brigade of Gurkhas reduced in size, particularly in the late 1960s before the move from Malaysia to Hong Kong. They would have received a gratuity but no pension.

The welfare pension is paid from donations made to the Gurkha Welfare Trust. The Ministry of Defence makes a grant of over £1 million per year to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, which covers most of its administrative costs in Nepal.

The annual value of Gurkha Pension Scheme pensions that will be paid by the MoD in Nepal in 2009-10 is £54 million.