Council Tax Rebates

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th May 2011.

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Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth 2:30 pm, 16th May 2011

Whether he has discussed with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the merits of a council tax rebate for members of the armed forces who are serving overseas.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Government recognise the value of council tax rebates for many members of the armed forces. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will make an announcement to the House on this matter later today.

Photo of Alun Michael Alun Michael Labour, Cardiff South and Penarth

I am grateful to the Minister for that response. One constituent who raised the question with me was not looking for blanket discretion for all deployments, but said that there was some resentment among those deployed to places such as Afghanistan and Iraq when they found that different local authorities exercised their discretion in different ways. Will the Minister encourage consistency and generosity in this matter?

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I am delighted to be able to agree with the right hon. Gentleman. We would encourage consistency. I will not pre-empt what the Secretary of State will say at 3.30 pm. [ Interruption ]. I will not pre-empt what the Secretary of State will say at 3.30 pm. However, if people are in receipt of the deployed welfare package, they get council tax relief, which is paid for by the Ministry of Defence. What local councils do at the moment is up to them. We encourage them to give due discretion where possible and to assist our members deployed on operations overseas.