In October 2014 the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gurkha Welfare published a report into a range of historic grievances held by Gurkha veterans following the establishment of an Inquiry in 2013 which brought to an end a hunger strike by a Gurkha veteran in the UK. The APPG report made a broad range of recommendations in relation to areas such as Gurkha pensions, adult dependents, medical healthcare in Nepal, Gurkha benefits and allowances and Gurkha communities in Britain.
The government has today (29 January 2015) published its response to that report and whilst not a Select Committee of Parliament the government has met the commitment it made to respond to the Inquiry’s findings along similar lines to that of a Select Committee. The APPG report made a number of recommendations and the government has today set out its response. As part of its response the government has announced that over £900,000 has been awarded to a Gurkha Veterans housing project in the UK from the Veteran’s Accommodation Fund, a £40 million fund provided from the fines from LIBOR manipulation. This is in addition to the award of £5 million (£1 million annually) over the next 5 years to the Gurkha Welfare Trust, a charity which provides support to Gurkha veterans, already announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement.
The government has also decided to set up a fund to provide a goodwill payment to a small number of Gurkha veterans who were directly affected by the approach taken to marrying a non-Nepali within the Brigade of Gurkhas during the 1980s and early 1990s. The government’s response also contains details of the new Home Office discretionary arrangements to allow adult children of former Gurkhas to be granted settlement in the United Kingdom in certain circumstances.
The response sets out the government’s response to all the recommendations made in the APPG’s report with the exception of one in relation to the disablement pension paid to Gurkhas under the Gurkha Pension Scheme. This is a complex matter for which the government is still considering the APPG’s recommendation and will respond to in due course.