§ Tony Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to allow to family and friends of service personnel deployed in operations to send a limited number of parcels to them at no charge, as part of the operational welfare package. 
§ Dr. Moonie
The Ministry of Defence recognises that an affordable, regular and reliable postal service is vital for morale and consequently a high priority is given to achieving this. For operational reasons there is very limited transport capacity available for mail both into the Gulf region and for onward carriage within theatre. A parcels service is, therefore, not offered within the mail element of the Operational Welfare Package for Operation Telic, and only letters and packets within the weight and dimension limits of the air letter service can be accepted, the maximum weight being two kilograms. The charge for a two kilogram packet is £6.89, which is the same as the United Kingdom inland first class letter rate. This is the limit of the concession currently approved and complies with the principle that Service personnel should not be disadvantaged by being deployed overseas.