Breaking news – stamp prices rise

Royal Mail adds 10p to both first and second class from 2 April

 

As the greetings industry, public and government are pulling together to keep the six-day letter delivery service the unwelcome news has broken this morning, 1 March, that Royal Mail has unveiled yet more stamp price rises.

The postal giant has put 10p on both first and second-class stamps, taking them to £1.35 and 85p respectively from 2 April, and the news comes in the week BBC’s Panorama’s evidence showed Royal Mail is routinely prioritising parcels over letters and cards, forcing people to travel to collect their own post from sorting offices.

Above: The full list of stamp price rises was released this morning
Above: The full list of stamp price rises was released this morning

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “We always consider price changes very carefully, but we face a situation where letter volumes have reduced dramatically over recent years while costs have increased.”

The company claims it has “sought to keep price increases as low as possible in the face of increasing cost pressures and wage increases, declining letter volumes and lack of reform of the universal service obligation”.

But the rises follow last April’s universally-condemned inflation-busting increases, and come after industry regulator Ofcom fined the business £5.6million for missing delivery targets in its 2023 investigation but it accepted the postal giant’s assertion it does not prioritise parcels.

However, on Monday, 26 February, Panorama’s documentary included interviews with a family who missed a vital operation for their sick child after receiving no letters for a month, and people having to visit the sorting office to be sure of picking up medical appointments, police letters and birthday cards – the evidence piling up that letters are being ignored for the more lucrative parcel market.

Above & top: the first King Charles’ stamps were released as prices increased last April
Above & top: the first King Charles’ stamps were released as prices increased last April

The programme followed Royal Mail’s ongoing bid to cut its legally-binding universal service obligation from having to deliver letters across the UK six days a week for the same price – where the government has said it will not support such cuts,

There was also the industry regulator’s release in January of its The Future Of The Universal Postal Service review, where it posited options including allowing RM to slash letter deliveries to just three days a week, and there’s the ongoing Post Office scandal where postmasters have been prosecuted and lost their livelihoods due to the faulty Horizon IT system.

The GCA is joining in with Ofcom’s review, giving the greetings industry’s concerns about the postal service issues and how cards and letters are vital for people to keep connected.

Defending the latest price rises Nick Landon added: “It is no longer sustainable to maintain a network built for 20billion letters when we are now only delivering 7bn.

Above: Panorama reporters visited the Winsford Delivery Office where this woman showed her birthday card and letters she has to collect herself
Above: Panorama reporters visited the Winsford Delivery Office where this woman showed her birthday card and letters she has to collect herself

“As a result of letter volume decline, our posties now have to walk more than three times as far to deliver the same number of letters as before, increasing the delivery costs per letter.

“It is vital that the universal service adapts to reflect changing customer preferences so that we can protect the one-price-goes anywhere service, now and in the future.”

The company added that “delivering an ever-decreasing number of letters to an ever-growing number of households six days a week is increasingly expensive and unsustainable an ever-decreasing number of letters to an ever-growing number of households six days a week is increasingly expensive and unsustainable” and said prices are “well below” the European mean average of £1.66 for first class and £1.26 for second.

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