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
Controls

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."

Targets

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.

Reaction

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

46p

60p

Second-class stamp

36p

50p

Large letter up to 100g: first-class

75p

90p

Large letter up 100g: second-class

58p

69p

Parcels

First-class up to 750g

£1.58 - £3.05

£2.70

Second-class up to 750g

£1.33 - £2.61

£2.20

Other

First-class 100g franked letter

39p

44p

Second-class 100g franked letter

28p

31p

Recorded signed for item

77p

95p

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 281.

    60p for a letter? Wow, I won't be sending any letters any more! We already ship anything we sell on eBay with a courier because it's half the price of Royal Mail. I guess the post office has just signed the death warrant for mail delivery! It's unbelievable, particularly when the mail is so unreliable and irregular already.

  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 280.

    Please note: due to rising costs and environmental reasons I will not be sending Christmas cards out this year. Instead I'll be making a donation to my pub.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 279.

    To all those complaining about the rise in first class ... next time you want to send something 300 miles overnight, take it yourself.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 278.

    Royal Mail was part of the General Post Office a Govt. Dept. until 1969 which included BT and Girobank. Both of these were privatized under MT in 1980's. Royal Mail was considered but it was thought that it would be very unpopular. Now we have a Govt. that seems to want to privatize no matter what the consequences people wont be able to write to their MPs because they can't afford the stamp now

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 277.

    The managers of Royal mail are committing the business to suicide. but should they be allowed too? It's not their business to ruin.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 276.

    Any price increase will slow down recovery. This is one of UK best assets that cost too much to run. Hope we do not run it down by putting more pressure on consumer!

  • rate this
    -20

    Comment number 275.

    @1941geordie, Labour all the way oh ad BTW its computer... not computor, and iPhone has no hyphen, just shows the competency of the tory's. People don't remember that the tory's crippled our country and are doing it over again. and yes I think the rise to 60p is discussing.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 274.

    Ben, Not all pensioners are able of deal with email or computers, when you get arthritis in your finger joints perhaps you will understand,

    When you get cataracts and cannot see much other that a fuzzy tunnel perhaps you will understand

    When you cannot remember recent things perhaps you will understand

    if you die young you will miss a lot, if you die ofd you will have to put up with a lot

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 273.

    "... postal service was at severe risk as people switched to using text messages, e-mails, and online messaging."

    And a 25% price rise will encourage people to send more letters, will it?

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 272.

    Quite ludicrous. I try and support Royal Mail as much as I can by posting invoices, letters, cards, etc. when possible.

    High prices are already making this difficult, and this is the final nail in the coffin. I'll certainly be cutting the amount of things I post dramatically.

    When facied with competition from free email services how do Royal Mail think this is a sensible business decision?!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 271.

    Probably cheaper now to post abroad for delivery to the UK!

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 270.

    Bit of a hike ok but I still good value - 60p to send a letter anywhere in the country. Vans still have to drive miles to deliver 1 letter instead of the 5 they used to, so of course it will be more expensive. To those complaining about the increase in price of fuel, petrol and now stamps - er how do you think the PO fuels their vans to deliver and collect your post? Their petrol has gone up too.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 269.

    Royal Mail increasing prices because people have switched to emails,texts etc. This simply means less money & resources/staffing needed. And if that is the case, isn't it the logical thing that the Royal Mail is streamlined accordingly, instead of raising stamp prices in order to continue maintaining the present status quo? Both Ofcom and the Royal Mail has simply lost their minds and senses!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 268.

    Typical of a nationalised, monopoly industry. Demand for your product falls. Answer? Increase its price. Result? Demand continues to fall. Answer? Increase prices again. The sooner more free-market competition is introduced the better.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 267.

    RM has been a joke for years. Good riddance to another union ridden monopoly holding the public to ransom in all honesty.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 266.

    Time to revert to email wherever possible, including Christmas cards. A shame that the universal postal service is now not open to many ordinary people. Businesses will suffer greatly with increased costs which will be passed on to 'you know who' :(

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 265.

    What do Royal Mail want !!! - Lets hope someone challenges
    them and sets up a competive mail delivery service.
    We have been getting second rate service from Royal Mail
    for years,

    People cannot afford such increases and will think twice about
    posting any sort of items unless they have to

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 264.

    I just received a parcel via Royal Mail; it was bashed all to hell even though it was clearly marked Please Handle With Care. It was roughly taped up with official Royal Mail tape which was printed to say 'Your parcel was found damaged'. FOUND DAMAGED? What's worse is this parcel was a resend of another parcel which was delivered damaged also. Royal Mail are useless and inept as far as I can tell.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 263.

    As an employee I say :- Finally, the company is charging a realistic price. Everyone has been getting it too cheap for too long. That is why the company is struggling and not investing in itself.

  • rate this
    +100

    Comment number 262.

    A physical item, collected within a short walk from your house, transported to the other end of the country and put through a specific door, all within 24-48 hours? 60p sounds very cheap to me!

 

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