Over 7,000 veterans of the Commonwealth countries including India who served the British armed forces will receive two meals a day through UK aid, International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt confirmed on Thursday (8).
The programme will be delivered through the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, a charity which has been supporting those such veterans who served the British Crown for almost 100 years, said UK’s department for international development in a release.
The new department for international development (DFID) programme will provide regular cash transfers to Commonwealth veterans and their widows and widowers in more than 30 countries to prevent them from going hungry.
UK’s secretary of state for international development Penny Mordaunt said, “we owe a tremendous amount to these Commonwealth Veterans. The British public would be shocked to know that those who have served alongside our armed forces would be living in such poverty”.
“It is absolutely right to make this commitment. I think the British public would approve of us pledging this support because of the sacrifices the Commonwealth Veterans have made and because of the debt of gratitude we owe to them”.
The new announcement follows a commitment in June by DFID to design a programme to support pre-independence war veterans.
Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) Deputy Grand President and former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO, said, “…this grant will help the RCEL ensure that these brave men and women are sustained and cared for in their twilight years. As important, it will let them know that they have not been forgotten and their service and sacrifice is remembered”.
Without this support, the 4,500 veterans and 2,500 widows would be unable to secure the equivalent of one-meal-a-day. UK aid will mean that those who served in the British armed forces across the Commonwealth pre-independence will not live their later years in poverty.
The package, worth £11.8 million, will be awarded to the RCEL through UK Aid Direct. UK Aid Direct supports small- and medium-sized civil society organisations and charities, based in the UK and overseas, to achieve sustained poverty reduction and to achieve the sustainable development goals.