§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the costs per minute of telephone calls to the United Kingdom by service men based in(a) Belize, (b) the Falklands and (c) Cyprus; and what assessment he has made of the impact of such costs on recruitment and retention in the armed forces. 
§ Mr. Spellar
We recognise the importance to personnel serving overseas of keeping in touch with family and friends by being able to telephone home. The standard cost of telephone calls per minute to the United Kingdom is:
- Belize: £2
- Cyprus: Peak 33p Off-peak 28p
- Falkland Islands: Peak 99p Off-peak 80p.
Falkland Islands costs can be reduced by 15 per cent. by purchasing telephone cards from Service sources on the island.
The call-back services provided by a number of telecommunications companies can reduce these charges substantially. Typical rates are 41p per minute for Belize, 17p for Cyprus and 59p for Falklands (although the latter is a limited service). The availability of these reduced cost services is widely publicised at each location and personnel are encouraged to use them.
Personnel in these overseas locations are in receipt of Local Overseas Allowance (LOA), which contains an element for telephone calls.