Royal Mail price hike comes into force
Stamp prices in the UK have increased by a record amount today (4 April) – with a First Class stamp rising by 5p to 46p. Royal Mail’s price hike – part of a wide-range of postal service price increases – was agreed in December by regulator Postcomm.
Second Class stamps will rise 4p to 36p, whilst the cost of a large letter stamp will rise by 9p to 75p for First Class items and 7p to 58p for Second Class mail,
Royal Mail says the extra revenue is needed to complete its modernisation plan; however, the operator has come under attack from watchdog Consumer Focus and parcel operator Collect+.
Philip Cullum, deputy chief executive at Consumer Focus, said: “Consumers will be extremely disappointed by the latest inflation busting increase given that stamp prices having gone up at double the rate of inflation over the last five years.
“Royal Mail needs to modernise but customers are being asked to pick up the tab. In return, they will expect to see a far more efficient, effective and competitive service. Consumers can’t be expected to continually bail out an inefficient Royal Mail.”
Standard Parcel prices, up to 2kg in weight, are unchanged. However, prices above 2kg have increased by 8%. An increase in Special Delivery services was also confirmed, with prices now starting from £5.45, an increase of 40p.
Responding to the price hike, Mark Lewis, CEO of Collect+, said: “For the average business, the cost of sending parcels will go up significantly, with Royal Mail adding 8% to the price of a single parcel weighing over 2kg.
“But while the price is going up, the service customers are getting is not improving. The Royal Mail and Post Office are failing to modernise quickly enough and they simply don’t provide a service that fits with busy working lives: the current opening hours aren’t convenient for a lot of people.
“The price increases across the board are another example of the confusing structure of pricing through Royal Mail: you simply don’t know how much it’s going to cost to send your parcel before you get to the counter.”
Lewis will be speaking at the Mail & Express Delivery Show on Thursday (7 April) in London.
Defending the decision in December, Moya Greene, Royal Mail’s CEO, said: “We have thought carefully about these increases as we are conscious of the difficult economic circumstances our customers are facing.
“No-one likes to pay more and we regret having had to take these tough decisions on pricing. After these increases, we will continue providing value-for-money as our prices will still be among the lowest in Europe.
“We are investing heavily to modernise our operations, which is all about providing our customers with the services they need in today’s open, highly competitive postal marketplace.
“With the sharp declines in mail volume, our revenues are falling. That means if we don’t generate more income, we will simply not be able to keep funding our six-days-a-week collection, sorting, transport and delivery operation to the UK’s 28m homes and businesses.”
What do you think of the price hike? Has Royal Mail made the right decision? Please comment below…