Serving troops to get free postage

Troops to get free deliveries
Troops to get free deliveries

Politicians have welcomed Royal Mail's decision to allow relatives of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to send parcels for free.

Royal Mail is working with the British Forces Post Office to arrange special arrangements for the busy posting period up until Christmas and will confirm formal arrangements in the next few days.

Head of the army general sir Richard Dannatt, who had called on Royal Mail to introduce the free service, said he was delighted at the move.

"This decision to provide a free parcel service to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will mean a great deal to our soldiers and to their families," he said.

Royal Mail chairman Alan Leighton said the Post Office wanted to give frontline troops as much support as possible.

Mr Leighton said: "Royal Mail's postmen are already serving in many military bases, including in Afghanistan, helping provide postal services to the armed forces and we know how vitally important it is for frontline troops to get parcels from their loved ones at home."

The Conservatives welcomed the move as a "very honourable gesture" by the Post Office.

Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell, who has backed calls for a free postal service, said the "small step" would make an "enormous difference" to the morale of troops fighting in difficult deployments.

As yet, it is unclear whether the service will be maintained after Christmas.

Sir Menzies called on the Ministry of Defence to work with Royal Mail to maintain the service in the long-term.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox added: "If the government is serious about maintaining the morale of the armed forces and welfare of service families they will guarantee continuity of the scheme rather than being dragged kicking and screaming to fulfil their side of the military covenant."


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