To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the weight limit is on parcels sent to British forces in the Gulf; what the weight limit was for (a) exercises and (b) operations in (i) Sierra Leone, (ii) Kosovo and (iii) the first Gulf War; and if he will make a statement. 
[holding answer 1 April 2003]: There is no parcel service to the Gulf. As part of the Operational Welfare Package approved for this Operation, there is an airmail letter and packet service, subsidised so that it costs the same as United Kingdom inland first class post. The maximum weight of an airmail packet is 2 kg. In addition, Forces Free Air Letters ("Blueys"), e-blueys and an internet bulletin board are available, free of charge.I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 2 April 2003,
Official Report, column 912, to my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, North (Mrs. Adams).
Exercises typically attract both a surface parcel service, up to a maximum weight of 30 kg, and an airmail letter and packet service with a maximum weight of 2 kg.
The priorities to meet operational requirements differ from those to support exercises, with the result that there is much greater pressure on available transport capacity, as urgent equipment and stores have to be moved into theatre. The situation in theatre dictates that fewer airlines are willing to fly to local airports. As a result, there is normally no parcel service until pressure on transport capacity eases.