Stamp prices could increase by up to 5p next year. Are you willing to spend more to help Royal Mail compete with rivals and safeguard its universal service?
This could mean an extra 5p on first class stamps and 4p on second class, bringing them to 46p and 36p.
Sure, that doesn’t sound like much, but this would be an unprecedented rise for the first class stamp. And there are more rises – the regulator thinks Royal Mail should have the flexibility to charge more in order to help it compete and modernise.
And although Royal Mail has yet to make a decision on the future price of its stamps, it’ll also be able to charge big businesses even more. The impact of these costs on banks and energy companies, for example, is likely to be passed onto us.
Letter sending at 15-year low
However, the reality is that we’re just not sending as many letters as we used to. In fact, letters sent through the post are at a 15-year low, with the average daily postbag down by 16 million since its peak five years ago.
This has turned profits into huge losses for the Royal Mail this year. So what’s to blame? Apparently it’s growing competition from postal rivals, emails and social media.
Which raises the question; does anyone really want or need to send post anymore? Mine’s limited to birthday cards and online orders, and even then I’ve become partial to send the less satisfactory e-cards.
What would you sacrifice for the Royal Mail?
When Postcomm and Consumer Focus asked UK households and businesses whether they were prepared to make sacrifices in order to save the Royal Mail, most were willing to put up with higher stamp prices and even to let go of Saturday deliveries. What would you be willing to give up? How about those much-wanted evening deliveries?
Even considering the rapid fall in letters sent, should Royal Mail pass the burden onto us?