Gurkhas

Committee hosts Gurkha roundtable

On Tuesday 19 May the Home Affairs Select Committee will host a roundtable discussion in private between representatives of Gurkha groups and the Government on the issue of settlement rights for all Gurkhas.

The Committee will seek to clarify the figures being advanced on both sides in relation to the numbers of ex-Gurkhas and dependents who might take up settlement if offered, the costs and benefits to the UK of extending settlement, and Gurkha pensions. It will produce a note summarising the different figures and issues of contention, to inform the Government's revision of its policy and guidance on Gurkha settlement.

The Committee previously held evidence sessions on 4 November 2008 and on 5 May 2009 on the issue of Gurkha settlement. It strongly recommended on both occasions that the Government extend settlement to all former Gurkhas.

Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, said:

" Home Office and Defence ministers asked the Committee to hold a meeting with their officials in order to get clarity on the numbers of Gurkhas and costs involved, and to aid development of a new policy."

" For over six months the Committee has been urging the Government to revise its policy and extend settlement rights to all former Gurkhas, irrespective of when they retired from the British Army. We are therefore delighted to be asked to help drive progress forward in whatever way we can, and hope that the Government will use this discussion as a catalyst to announcing a much-needed change in policy."