From a question and answer session with the Secretary of State in The Independent, 30 November 2009
Q. My American, Australian and Canadian colleagues do not pay income tax when serving their countries. Are there any plans to make UK forces more equal with our closest allies? I am well aware that our basic salaries are higher, in relative terms, than these colleagues; the much greater cost of living in the UK more than cancels out this advantage and our relative purchasing power, rank for rank, is similar. Flight Lieutenant Alex Morrison by email
A. The Labour government introduced a tax-free lump sum operational allowance of up to £2,380 (paid at the end of a six-month tour). We opted for this rather than tax-free pay because it puts more money in the ordinary soldier's pocket. It gives equal benefit to all ranks. In addition to the operational allowance, personnel on six-month tours also get a minimum of £1,194 in separation allowance. The independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body has commissioned a survey on remuneration, nation-by-nation, and this will inform its 2010 report. Deployed personnel also receive a council tax relief payment.
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