To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support the Government provide for families of service personnel who are on operational duty.
The single services each maintain extensive welfare support networks for families which include welfare staff at unit level, service welfare agencies and specialist support organisations such as Families Federations. There are also online information portals, discussion forums and HIVE information centres. These are available at all times but retain a strong focus on providing support when the service person is deployed.
The communication element of the Deployment Welfare Package and various allowances paid to deployed personnel also benefit families and allow them to keep in regular touch with the deployed family members. In addition, the immediate family of accompanied regular service personnel deployed on operations receive assisted travel to benefit from the support of other family members. The services publish handbooks, such as the army "Guide for Families of Regular Personnel Deployed on Operations", and make welfare funds available for commanders to deliver local solutions over and above what is routinely available. These include internet access, briefings and hardship grants.