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Armed Forces: Postal Services

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what limits have been placed on the (a) size, (b) weight and (c) number of parcels sent through the Christmas Parcel Appeal for members of the armed forces serving in theatres abroad; on what criteria these limits were established; and if he will make a statement. (233047)

There is no Christmas parcel appeal. Members of the public are being asked not to send unsolicited mail and packages, which could slow down the mail from friends and families of loved ones deployed away from home at Christmas time.

Under the Christmas freepost or the free mail service, however, small packets and packages (not exceeding the size of a shoe box, or weighing more than 2 kg) may be sent to a named individual. There is no limit to the number of these which may be sent. These conditions were set to optimise weight distribution on RAF aircraft en route to theatre, and on transport used within theatre, where HM forces mail, while given a very high priority, is only carried using spare capacity behind essential supplies of ammunition, medical supplies, food and water.