From the BBC: Armed forces personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are to get a council tax rebate under new plans unveiled by the government. The measure will be worth £140 to every soldier who pays the tax on a UK property and is serving a six-month tour of duty. It comes after sustained criticism from the head of the Army over the treatment of soldiers. The Ministry of Defence will pay for the tax relief out of its budget. About 13,000 soldiers will benefit from the tax rebate, which amounts to 25% of the average Band D council tax bill. 'Commitment to families' The soldiers will receive the rebate via their tax-free Operational Allowance paid at the end of an operational tour, with the first payments to be made from 1 April, 2008. Defence Secretary Des Browne said: "It underlines the government's commitment to support our Armed Forces and their families. "We intend to extend this payment to all those deployed overseas on operations next year." The tax-free Operational Allowance is worth £2,320 over a six month tour of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. Criticism The council tax payment has already been dismissed as spin by the Conservatives, who point out that there is no new money. They also say it discriminates between personnel on different operations. But the move will be warmly welcomed by some critics who have attacked what they say is the inadequate treatment afforded to soldiers sent to the frontline. Poor accommodation has been one area of strong criticism, as has patchy healthcare provision for wounded returning soldiers. Last week the head of the Army, Gen Sir Richard Dannatt, said Britain should consider the parades that many American soldiers are met with when they arrive home. [hr] Seemingly good news, and it will no doubt benefit some, but my concern is that it's yet another thing that's coming out of the defence budget, which will result in further impacts reference the amount of and quality of kit... Thoughts?