Opposition politicians in the UK have accused Royal Mail of cutting post box collections purely to make itself more attractive for potential buyers.
Labour Party MP and shadow postal affairs minister Ian Murray obtained figures through a Freedom of Information request, showing that 6,453 post box collections were lost in the year up to the beginning of March.
The figures showed that overall over the 12 months, 9,689 collections were cut, while 3,236 collections were added. Collection times were brought forward to earlier in the day for 10,006 post boxes, while they were extended for 5,719 post boxes.
The company collects from about 115,000 post boxes across the UK.
Murray, who passed the information on to the Daily Telegraph, said he believed the numbers revealed a “significant reduction” in the level of Royal Mail service.
“They are trying to fatten up the coffers to make it sellable. collections are being reduced while prices are increasing,” he said.
“It is important that levels of service offered by the Royal Mail are safeguarded in order that businesses and individuals can count on a minimum level of service.”
The MP for Edinburgh south criticised Royal Mail for not publishing its post box collection figures, and called on the postal service to reveal its figures for past years.
Royal Mail said changing the frequency and times of its collections was a way to save money in response to customer demand levels.
Mail volumes have fallen by 25% over the last five years at Royal Mail.
“This is sensible ongoing business management which simply reflects changing mail volumes in specific locations,” said Royal Mail spokesman Heulyn Gwyn Davies.
National watchdog Consumer Focus said it would be discussing the issue with Royal Mail. Its postal policy director Robert Hammond said ending or changing collection times at some post boxes was “understandable” in the light of rapidly declining mail volumes, but he said customers should be made aware of the changes.
Source: Post&Parcel/UK media