HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 c71W
Mr. Keetch

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the(a) RAF, (b) Army and (c) Royal Navy he expects to be (i) serving abroad and (ii) deployed on front-line duties between 24 December and 2 January 2002; what percentage of trained strength of each force this represents; what provisions he has made to ensure family contact over that period; and if he will make a statement. [18932]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 10 December 2001]: The current estimate of the number of personnel who will be serving abroad and deployed on operations overseas over the Christmas and new year period is shown in the table.

Royal Navy Army Royal Air Force
Estimated number serving abroad 6,300 22,300 6,300
As a percentage of trained strength 17 22 13
Estimated number of those serving abroad deployed on operations 3,000 9,350 3,200
As a percentage of trained strength 8 9 6

We attach great importance to ensuring service personnel deployed overseas are able to keep in touch with their families, especially over Christmas and new year. It is for this reason that personnel on operations over Christmas are, as last year, being given a further 20 minutes free phone call home in addition to the standard 20 minutes free weekly phone call. Free 'blueys' (aerogrammes), 'e-blueys' and concessionary parcel rates as well as internet and e-mail access are also available as part of the standard Operational Welfare Package.