HC Deb 20 December 1982 vol 34 cc348-9W
Mr. Alton

asked the Prime Minister if she would provide assistance from public funds to all United Kingdom Service men in the South Atlantic to make telephone calls to their families at Christmas.

The Prime Minister

No member of Her Majesty's Forces serving anywhere overseas is offered free or directly subsidised personal telephone calls home, although no charge is made for calls of a compassionate or welfare nature. However, the cost of long-distance telephone calls is one of several items of extra expenditure taken into account in the payment of local overseas allowance, which is designed specifically to compensate for the extra cost of living overseas. Forces in the Falkland Islands are in receipt of the appropriate rate of this allowance.

However, in the special circumstances of the South Atlantic, it has been agreed that the cost of calls at Christmas from the Falkland Islands can be paid out of monies specifically donated to the South Atlantic fund for the welfare of troops serving in the South Atlantic. Donations totalling at least £1 million were accompanied by letters specifically asking that the money should help make life more acceptable for the troops who are still there.