Christmas postage stamp concession for some disabled people after price increase
Royal Mail announced today a significant increase in the price of first and second class stamps in the UK. They also gave some details about a scheme for lower income groups to get cheaper stamps this Christmas.
For a standard letter size, First Class stamps are to rise from 46p to 60p. Second Class stamps from 36p to 50p. Prices for larger heavier letters and packets are to go up, as well as prices for other services including postal redirection.
Stamps have been allowed to rise by over 30% in this case, thanks to a relaxation of the price controls by the postal regulator Ofcom. Prices have risen in order to help the ailing Royal Mail to compete in the growing postal deliveries market.
With the rise came an announcement that, this Christmas, low income households would be able to purchase stamps at the aforementioned 2011 prices.
The reduced price stamps will be on sale from November 6 and the scheme will be in place until the last posting date before Christmas for First Class stamps.
Households on pension credit, employment and support allowance (ESA) - or those still on incapacity benefit - are eligible. They will be able to buy up to three books of 12 stamps - 36 stamps in total - in one purchase. Royal Mail believes around five million people will be able to take advantage of this offer.
To receive the discount, people will need to provide evidence that they are in receipt of benefits, e.g. the Annual Uprating letter or the Award Notice letter from the DWP.
This offer is only for Christmas 2012.
It's unclear how they intend to record that a customer has purchased their full entitlement of 36 stamps in order to prevent them purchasing more at the concession rate on another occasion though a Royal Mail spokesman told us: "Post Office is an organisation with great experience and expertise in professionally checking individual's identities and entitlements for services as well as in the fulfilment of services to benefit recipients. It already handles a range of products that demonstrate these characteristics."
Royal Mail has said that it will write to every UK household later in the year explaining how the scheme works.