Gurkhas to get lower payoffs in Army cuts
One officer facing compulsory redundancy said: 'I have given my whole life to the Army. I feel helpless. There is no morale in the brigade, it is very, very bad'
Many of the Gurkhas who were told they were being forced out of the Army yesterday will be paid less than their British counterparts, The Independent has learnt.
Morale amongst the Brigade of Gurkhas, one insider revealed, was at rock bottom with soldiers from the famous regiments feeling betrayed by the fact that they were bearing the brunt of compulsory redundancies.
Yesterday 920 soldiers across the Army were told that they would be made redundant in the first tranche of plans to cut a fifth of the service. While many were volunteers, 260 face compulsory redundancy, of which 140 will be Gurkhas despite the fact they represent just over 3 per cent of the force.
"I joined as a boy. I have given my whole life to the Army. I feel helpless," said one Gurkha officer facing compulsory redundancy. "I said to my commanding officer: 'What would you do if you were in my shoes?' He did not have an answer. There is no morale in the brigade, it is very, very bad."
The Nepalese soldiers, who have a 200-year association with Britain, have long been recognised for their loyalty and gallantry. "If a man says he's not afraid to die, he's either lying or he's a Gurkha," said the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw.
The brigade has continued to serve and suffer losses in Iraq and now Afghanistan, with the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Gurkha Rifles, in Helmand.
Under the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the RAF, Army and Royal Navy have been told they must cut 17,000 staff by 2015 and 11,000 will be redundancies. Defence Secretary Liam Fox blamed the cuts on the Labour government "which left a £38 billion black hole in the defence budget".
The head of Army manning, Brigadier Richard Nugee, said in April that the cuts to the 3,500-strong Brigade of Gurkhas were necessary following recent changes to their terms of service, which granted them equal pay and pensions as well as the right to extend their service from 15 to 22 years. Because nearly all Gurkhas have chosen to serve the longer period, the brigade has been overmanned for years.
Yesterday the Ministry of Defence said that it expected some of those facing compulsory redundancy to take up the opportunity to transfer to another regiment.
The Gurkha officer, who wished to remain anonymous, said he would receive thousands of pounds less a year than his equivalent in other regiments. The redundancy pay calculator for the British Army stated that Gurkhas should use another system. For his service pre-1997, the officer will receive less than a third, making his severance pay considerably lower.
Gurkhas who did not transfer into the new pension system or turned down opportunities to transfer to other units believing they would serve out their time with their regiment, will be hit hard.
Former Major Tikendra Dal Dewan, chairman of the British Gurkha Welfare Society, said the brigade was likely to lose a total of 700 soldiers.
Up to 930 RAF personnel were also told they were being made redundant yesterday, of which 490 were compulsory.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...