An estimated 4.5 million Commonwealth soldiers from the Indian sub-continent, Africa and the Caribbean fought in the British army during the second world war. Of the 14,000 veterans who survive, half are now living in poverty.
As a result, the Department for International Development has decided to fund £12 million to the impoverished war veterans who served the British military or their widows. The cash will help provide 2 meals a day and regular cash transfers. This programme is run in more than 30 countries, eg. India, Kenya and Zimbabwe as some of them, currently in their 90s, are unable to meet basic needs.
“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.” — Minister of International Development
However, the head of aid statistics at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development questioned why the support was only for veterans of UK armed forces and not all veterans living below the poverty line, and said the the aids would need to be made in a “sensitive way”.