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Royal Mail’s £15m Christmas spend – will post arrive on time?

Santa dropping lots of post

We know there’s widespread dissatisfaction with our postal service. So is the news that Royal Mail’s investing £15 million in improving festive deliveries making you feel like all your Christmases have come at once?

Just a few days ago we asked whether you’ve started your Christmas shopping yet. While this may have seemed premature, it won’t be long before we’re grappling with packages and those dreaded ‘last posting dates before Christmas’.

So, did the announcement that Royal Mail will inject an additional £15 million into its Christmas operations give you a warm, festive glow?

Make way for a nationwide packet network

If you haven’t heard the news, here’s the deal. Royal Mail is opening a dedicated nationwide packet network. This will include ‘packet hubs’ in nine areas, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Swansea, Bristol, Manchester and Watford, to help sort packages before they’re delivered to your door.

Not only that, but an additional 73,000 containers and one million trays will be purchased to help transport our post.

Is Royal Mail living up to your expectations?

Having published many a Conversation about Royal Mail in the past, we know that lots of you are dissatisfied with the service you’re receiving and feel that prices are going up while standards go down. Tosca’s comments summed up the feeling well:

‘A 5p increase is steep if you take into account that the service is getting worse every year. We now have one delivery a day, which can arrive anytime between 11am and 5pm and on one or two days a week doesn’t materialize at all. No one minds paying more for good service but I fail to see why we should be asked to pay more for one you cannot rely on.’

So is this latest move enough to restore your faith in our postal service? Does it go far enough in addressing a declining service? Rachel’s experience on Father’s Day is certainly one we could all do without at Christmas:

‘This year, I have a very unhappy father who lives miles away from me, who failed to get a Father’s Day card on time. I posted the card on Thursday, in plenty of time before the postman should have made the collection. It had a first class stamp on it which I was happy to pay for, and therefore I am totally outraged that when I called my dad, he was angry at me because he hadn’t received his card on time.’

Will this Christmas be different?

And what about the fact that there’s apparently no difference between sending your post first or second class between 6 December and 1 January? We raised this issue last Christmas, pointing out that sending your cards second class would save you 9p a card – a figure that will save you an extra 10p this year.

Will this £15 million investment in ‘Christmas operations’ extend to guaranteeing a first class service as normal – in other words, will a first class stamp ensure next day delivery? That’s a question I put to Royal Mail on the phone, but I’m still waiting for them to get back to me with an answer. I’ll keep you posted (sorry).

Perhaps more importantly, will this extra investment give you peace of mind as you post your Christmas cards and packages – or will you avoid leaving it to chance and post early as always? And is this even the right way for Royal Mail to be spending £15 million – maybe the investment should be made elsewhere?

Vonph says:
24 December 2011

Another thumbs up for the Royal Mail for me today. I received my graze.com box in this morning’s post. Saturday is the day my box is due each week and I was half expecting a slight delay because of the season and today being Christmas Eve.

I’ve had a great experience with RM this year.


Just spoken with my parents and so far this christmas period and they’ve now had 2 letters delivered to completely the wrong street about a 1 mile away. Luckily the people there have re-posted the letters so again 1st class taking over a week. 15M not well spent in my book. About time someone high up there lost their job, this level of lack of service has been going on fair too long.

Rosemary says:
31 March 2012

I agree Royal Mail have to improve their sercvice. They need to guarantee that first class mail will be delivered next day. I have been very disapointed in the past when its taken up to three days to deliver birthday cards fifty miles from where i live. As for Christmas i post about sixty cards, i can send some e-cards but not to elderly people.