It will now cost you 60p to send a first-class letter with Royal Mail’s stamp price rise coming into force today. The service will deliver your letter to any part of the UK for 60p – good value or an end to your posting days?
Rising from 46p, a first-class letter (weighing up to 100g) will now cost you 60p to post with Royal Mail – a significant 14p bump from the cost last month. A second-class stamp has also gone up, from 36p to 50p. It’s the single largest price rise in Royal Mail’s history.
And many people around the country have been stockpiling stamps to save on posting letters in the future, including Wavechange:
‘I bought £45.60 worth of stamps at the weekend and could have had more.’
But is this price rise all that bad? I had a look through the Which? magazine archives, and found myself in 1985 when first and second-class stamp prices were 17p and 13p respectively.
Next to today’s prices, that looks incredibly cheap, but how much would they really cost in today’s economy? Well, when you take inflation into account, you’re looking at approximately 43p and 33p. Interestingly, that’s not too far off the price of stamps before this latest price rise.
‘Phenomenal’ postal network
However, despite the increase, some Which? Convo commenters still think a 60p first-class stamp is a bargain, like Steepleview:
‘60p is still ridiculously cheap. To be able to post an item and have it delivered the next day or the day after, anywhere in the whole of the British Isles is phenomenal. The logistics of this are truly mind-blowing.’
And Pippa thinks the rise is needed for Royal Mail to survive:
‘If Royal Mail is to survive it needs to be able to raise enough money to do so. I think the government has held them back and not let prices rise with inflation. If the post office can begin to make money and continue to provide the excellent service we have come to depend on we will all be the winners.’
Will postboxes become distant memories?
‘I think Royal Mail will price themselves out of the letter delivery market. Email is cheaper and quicker and the way forward. The postbox on the corner of the street will soon be a thing of the past just like the telephone box.’
Complaints about the new prices often come down to poor service, with John Dover saying:
‘The new price for first-class would be fine if first-class letters arrived the next day. However, they often take much longer, so you are not getting what you have paid for.’
This is a complaint that goes all the way back to 1985 – a letter taking too long to arrive was the most common complaint in our 1985 survey (over three-quarters of all those dissatisfied).
In the infographic to the right (click to enlarge) you can see what proportion of first-class letters posted in our 1985 letters test (where we got 300 people in all parts of Britain to post 6,000 letters) arrived the day after posting.
So, it doesn’t look like much as changed since 1985 – except the price of stamps. Are they too expensive for the service you get from Royal Mail? Or is it still a modern day bargain?