Armed Forces: Postage

House of Lords written question – answered on 7 December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Rogan Lord Rogan UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the weight limit for free postage to United Kingdom forces varies between British forces; and, if so, why.

To ask Her Majesty's Government why it is possible to send items up to two kilograms by post to United Kingdom forces serving in Afghanistan without charge but the same provision is not made for postage from troops to United Kingdom civilian addresses.

Photo of Lord Astor of Hever Lord Astor of Hever The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Armed Forces personnel deployed on specified operations, including in Afghanistan, and on board ships supporting those operations, benefit from the enduring free mail service (EFMS), a joint venture between the British Forces' Post Office (BFPO) and the Royal Mail. The EFMS is part of the deployed welfare package provided to such personnel and enables friends and family members to send packages from the UK weighing up to 2 kilograms free of charge.

There is not generally a need for Armed Forces personnel on operations to regularly send packages home, so the deployed welfare package does not offer a free mail service from operational locations to the UK. Should service personnel wish to send a package to the UK, forces' post offices are available in deployed locations. Domestic UK postage rates, rather than standard international postage rates, would apply.

Service personnel serving overseas in a non-operational capacity can receive mail sent at domestic internal UK mail postal rates through their forces' post office, which also allows them to send mail to the UK at domestic postage rates.

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