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Gurkhas

Volume 715: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of welfare payments to (a) Gurkha ex-servicemen settled in the United Kingdom, (b) dependants of such soldiers who have emigrated to the United Kingdom following the recent change in policy, and (c) Gurkha servicemen yet to retire who would be eligible to settle in the United Kingdom. [HL279]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (a) the cost of providing welfare payments to those Gurkha ex-servicemen who retired before 1 July 1997, and (b) the cost of providing pensions to those Gurkha ex-servicemen who retired before 1 July 1997. [HL280]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the cost of welfare provision over the next 20 years for 10,000 to 15,000 Gurkhas and their dependants settling in the United Kingdom. [HL281]

The Government's position on settlement rights for those who retired from the Brigade of Gurkhas before July 1997 was set out in the Home Secretary's Statement on 21 May 2009. On the basis that 36,000 Gurkhas and their dependants settled in the United Kingdom, the Government estimated that the annual cost would be approximately £1.4 billion. On the basis that 10,000 to 15,000 applicants plus their dependants chose to settle in the UK, the Government estimate that the costs are likely to be £300 million to £400 million a year. This does not include service related pensions.

It has been estimated that the cost of providing retired Gurkhas with Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) equivalent pension benefits for all pensionable service before one July 1997 would be a one-off cost of £500 million and then £1 billion spread over 20 years. The £1.5 billion would benefit a small group of mainly officers where the pension difference between Gurkha Pension Scheme and AFPS is significant.

No estimates have been made of the annual cost of welfare payments to include Gurkhas who retired after 1997 or the future cost relating to those still serving and who choose to settle in the UK upon discharge.