Stamp prices: First-class stamps to cost 60p

First-class stamps A first-class stamp currently costs 46p and a second-class stamp costs 36p

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A first-class stamp will rise in price from 46p to 60p from 30 April after the regulator lifted some price controls on Royal Mail.

A second-class stamp will go up from 36p to 50p - some 5p below the top price allowed by Ofcom.

The regulator has allowed Royal Mail to set the price of first-class and business mail.

It claimed the future of the universal service was at "severe risk" without relaxing controls.

The 30% price rise in first-class stamps, and 39% rise for second-class, mark the biggest annual increase in percentage terms since 1975. Ten years ago, a first-class stamp cost 27p, and a second-class cost 19p.

Over the next seven years, the price of second-class stamps will be capped at 55p but this limit could rise with inflation each year.

Royal Mail said that the cost of posting Christmas cards in 2012 will be the same as last year for consumers on Pension Credit and Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit.

They will be able to buy up to three books of 12 stamps - 36 stamps in total - in one purchase from any Post Office branch from 6 November until the last posting dates before Christmas. Individuals must provide evidence that they are in receipt of these benefits.

Do members of the public know how much a first-class stamp costs?

'Severe risk'

Ofcom said that changes needed to be made to price limits, because the future of the UK's universal, six-day-a-week postal service was "at severe risk" as people switched to using text messages, e-mails, and online messaging.

After consultation, it has now confirmed plans to lift some of the price controls - a move recently backed by a committee of MPs.

The Commons Business Committee did raise concerns about vulnerable customers, and Ofcom said the cap on the cost of second-class mail was designed to protect this group of people.

Shortly after the announcement from Ofcom, Royal Mail announced exactly how much it will charge for stamps from 30 April.

Start Quote

No-one likes to raise prices in the current economic climate but, regretfully, we have no option”

End Quote Moya Greene Royal Mail chief executive

It announced:

  • The price of a first-class stamp for a standard letter will go up from 46p to 60p on 30 April
  • A second-class stamp for a standard letter will go up from 36p to 50p on the same date
  • A first-class stamp for a large letter weighing up to 100g will rise from 75p to 90p
  • A large letter sent second-class will cost 69p, rather than 58p
  • Parcels, franked mail, recorded post, redirection services and PO Box use will also be going up in price

Royal Mail's chief executive, Moya Greene, told the BBC that the one-price-whatever-the distance universal service was under threat because the organisation's financial situation had been "very fragile" for some time.

"In the core business in the past four years we have lost over a billion pounds," she said.

"No one likes to ask their customers to pay more, I certainly wouldn't do it, especially in these economic times, if it were not absolutely essential."

But she said there was "not an affordability issue" as stamps cost less than a chocolate bar.

Historical prices graphic

Ofcom said that the average household spent around 50p per week on post, with low-income families typically spending less.

The changes made by the regulator will mean:

  • Royal Mail, not the regulator, will set prices on the majority of products, including first-class and business mail
  • Second-class stamps must not be charged at more than 55p. This limit will rise in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation for each of the next seven years
  • Small parcels and large letters weighing up to 2kg sent second class will also eventually have a price cap, but not in 2012-13
  • There will be some control of what Royal Mail can charge competitors to access its network

"Ofcom's decisions are designed to safeguard the UK's postal service, ensuring it is sustainable, affordable and high-quality, to the end of the decade and beyond," said Stuart McIntosh, of Ofcom.

"The measures ensure that Royal Mail's products remain affordable for vulnerable consumers and small businesses."


Royal Mail delivered 16 billion letters to around 28 million addresses last year. However, since 2006, there has been a 25% decline in postal volumes with further falls expected.

Letterbox Royal Mail said it wanted to ensure a service was available in all areas of the country

Ofcom, which took over regulation of the industry from Postcomm, said that Royal Mail might not be able to keep up with current standards without regulatory changes.

The regulator demands that Royal Mail targets a record of delivering 93% of first-class mail by the next day and 98.5% of second-class mail must arrive within three days of posting.

Royal Mail's letters business made a loss of £120m in 2010-11.

A Department for Business spokesman said: "Price rises are never welcome. However, ministers are clear that the top priority is to protect the universal service on which people rely.

"But this service comes at a cost, and its provider, Royal Mail, needs to be financially viable. The most important thing is to secure the universal service, but price rises are only one part of the story, the successful modernisation of Royal Mail is also crucial."

Up to 90% of Royal Mail can be sold, following an Act of Parliament last year.

This was most likely take place in the first quarter of 2014, probably through a sale of shares, according to chief executive Ms Greene.


Sharon Little, chief executive of the Greeting Card Association, said more cards were sent per person in the UK than anywhere else in the world, but the change in prices was a "worry".

She said that the association understood the pressures on Royal Mail, but she called for the group to extend its price freeze this winter to all pensioners, not just those on certain benefits.

The majority of people, she said, sent their Christmas cards by second-class post, but birthday and mother's day cards tended to be send first-class.

Small businesses that made cards tended to sell upmarket products, so she hoped the increasing price of stamps should not affect these businesses too much.

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: "Those people who baulk at the idea of stamp price rises should understand that it comes directly from government decisions to privatise this industry."

John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "With 84% of small firms dependent on Royal Mail, it is welcome news that they will receive discounts on some products.

"However, it does not go far enough. Rapidly raising stamp prices now will be bad for business. With small businesses and consumers being hit by other rising costs, this has come in at a time when they can ill-afford it."

Royal Mail price increases

Stamps Old price New price

Source: Royal Mail

First-class stamp



Second-class stamp



Large letter up to 100g: first-class



Large letter up 100g: second-class




First-class up to 750g

£1.58 - £3.05


Second-class up to 750g

£1.33 - £2.61



First-class 100g franked letter



Second-class 100g franked letter



Recorded signed for item




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  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    Have just bought £46.00 worth of first class stamps.
    They'll be worth £60 in just over a month, that's a 365.21% return.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    This is ridiculous! I would understand a few pence increase but 14p is terrible!

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    So another service is going up for sale this is just the second step after the pensions liability the management will do anything to make it look good to a foreign buyer because they will all get handsome payouts and the workers they will be made redundant with minimum payouts and the service to us cut down to 3 delivery's a week even Victorian Britain had a reliable postage service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    Can't help feeling they are shooting themselves in the foot with this massive price hike. After all, more and more people are using email and texts to ensure swift and guaranteed delivery of urgent messages. If Royal Mail wanted to encourage more custom then they should be considering REDUCING the cost of postage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Outrageous prices - do Royal Mail not understand that postage charges are very price sensitive? Yes we're posting less than we used to, but these price rises will just accelerate the decline of "snail mail".

    And how do they plan to implement the Christmas 2012 charges guarantee? Will you have to prove what benefit you are on when you buy your Christmas stamps?

  • Comment number 256.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    I would not have a problem paying 60p a go if the post got there on time. I posted my mother's Mother's Day card of 14th March first class and posted it in the box in the post office and she still only got it a week later. What is the point.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    Will this be too much to hope that it will lead to less junk mail being sent out and cluttering up mats up and down the country? The bad thing is that we will receive more impersonal e-cards - like they care this much ( one click)

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    This decision defies all the laws of free market economics. Demand decreases so insted of making itself more competitive, Royal Mail increases its prices by 30% plus - madness! It just sums up this hopelessly out-dated, trade-union dominated organisation with its 1950's working practices and lousy service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Oh I'm ashamed to be British. What a load of whinging Poms we truly are.
    What on earth do you all want for 55p ??? A letter from Lands End to the Outer Hebrides for less than a packet of mints - brilliant value!
    I live on minimum wage, so don't think I'm one of those rich people! (Not like the tanker drivers on £50k who are now going to strike) We need to get this all into perspective!

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Actually 60p to get something physical from one end of the country to the other is dirt cheap. Having said that im totally against the planned privatization of yet another national service. Then it will rocket in price and the service will be dire as with every other privatization. Still 250K and a free meal everytime its alright for some.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    uk governmnet (tories and liberals) appears intent to kill the post office, by driving customers elsewhere and creeping privatisation.

    For remote rural areas of Scotland this may be the final straw.

    labour paved the way for privatisation, eagerly picked up by the tories.

    In the 2014 referendum, Scots should note what purpose does union serve if the main benefits no longer exist.

    C McK

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Sorry to all my friends & family, I will “NOT” be sending out Christmas cards Greetings and Birthday cards anymore, With the cost of everything going up in this Tory/Libdem debacle I now cannot afford the luxury of sending out post, I need to feed my family first and pay astronomical costs to get to my job which is in the NHS, “WAKE UP" everyone we are being "RIPPED OFF” again,

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    And privatisation strikes again! The Royal Mail are being force out of business so that private firms can swoop in and raid the infastructure for pennies on the pound.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Rise in VAT, fuel duty at record highs. Crippling green taxes... Is it any wonder everything is getting so expensive?
    It's a shame stamps are going to become so expensive, if there is a drop in posted mail then it's yet another nail; in the coffin of so many industries -Printing, Paper Mills, Transport, Card shops, Advertising agencies, Ink manufactuers etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    This is a standard tactic for companies the government wish to privatise. I don't know why so many people get fooled by it.
    The POs half year profits actually rose last year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I suspect this is a plan to kill off the postal service. It is difficult to operate, expensive, unreliable, untrustworthy and cripple by unions. I give the RM 1-2 years before it diversifies into online only (secure document delivery) offerings supported by parcel couriers. This is the begiining of the end for the daily postal service...

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    Alot of people say this won't be a problem, when this actually will. Sending a letter from a school will now cost 50p - 60p (depending on what importance this is). This will only come up in costs, especially with large scale businesses.

    Goodbye Royal Mail, hello E-Mail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    I do commiserate with job-seekers, for whom this will not help

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    226. @Claire
    I speak from 30 years of working in Royal Mail. Try working in the industry before engaging your mouth.


Page 39 of 52


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