The Gurkhas have lost a High Court test case with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over their pension rights today.
Pension rights were amended in 1997 to give Gurkhas equal pension rights with their UK counterparts. However, those Gurkhas who retired prior to 1 July 1997 are only entitled to a third of the income of UK-based veterans.
Their pension scheme paid substantially lower benefits based on the cost of living in Nepal; the homeland to which veterans traditionally retired.
But in May last year those Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years' service won the right to settle in the UK, along with their spouses and any dependents under the age of 18.
Lawyers for the veterans argued the failure to give all retired Gurkhas equal pension rights is unlawful discrimination on grounds of nationality and age, and thereby in breach of the Human Rights Act and EU discrimination laws.
The British Gurkha Welfare Society's general secretary, Chhatra Rai, announced the society would be seeking leave to appeal.
He says: "The approach of the MoD makes no sense since it is clear that considerable cost savings could be made if Gurkhas would feel less pressure to settle in the UK as this would also put less pressure on the British welfare system.
"The Ministry of Defense estimates the cost of putting in place future equal monthly pension payments to this group of Gurkhas at costing the UK Government £75mn a year.
"However, the Government has estimated that the settlement policy will cost between £300m and £400m a year in welfare and healthcare provision for veterans and dependants moving to the UK."
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