October 15, 2006:
British troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans will now get a $4,100 bonus, if they serve in one of these places for six months, or more, at a time. The bonus is a response to calls for the troops pay being made tax-free, while they are in combat. This is a common policy in many other countries. About 15,000 troops are eligible for this bonus, and it will be retroactive to April, 2006. Wounded troops in foreign hospitals will also get $18 a day in extra pay. There are several other new benefits for the troops, like free shipping for holiday parcels, travel expenses for family coming to visit hospitalized troops and more high-speed Internet connections. Most of this is the result of finding out that other countries, especially the U.S., shower their combat troops with more goodies than Britain does. The resulting bad publicity motivates the generals and politicians to do something.