§ Mr. Rammell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to reduce the problem of overstretch. 
§ Mr. Spellar
We remain firmly committed to tackling overstretch in the Armed Forces. Recruitment is improving and measures are under way to improve retention. These include improvements to the operational welfare package, for example: free telephone calls home, and a guaranteed period of post operational tour leave, as well as measures in support of families put in place through the role of the Service Families Task Force. We believe that measures such as these, combined with improved recruiting, and retention initiatives already in place, will help to reduce overstretch.