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Royal Mail to hike price of stamps for the third time in a year

Royal Mail to hike price of stamps for the third time in a year

Royal Mail is set to increase stamps from April 2 – the third price hike in a year.

First-class stamps are set to increase by 10p for standard size letters, from £1.25 to £1.34. For large letters, the increase on first-class stamps will be 15p, from £1.95 to £2.10.

The rise on standard size second-class stamps is slightly less at 10p, going from 75p to 85p. There will be no increase on second-class stamps for large letters, which remain at £1.55.

The move comes after similar price hikes over the past 12 months. In April 2023, Royal Mail increased the price of standard first-class stamps by 16 per cent, and an additional 14 per cent the following October.

A postal worker in Liverpool, January 2024 (EPA)
A postal worker in Liverpool, January 2024 (EPA)

This means that they have risen 42 per cent over the past year – a 40p increase from 95p to £1.35.

Royal Mail bosses have justified the move citing issues around industrial action, increased costs and the government-legislated ‘universal service obligation’ it faces to deliver letters six days a week.

In November, Royal Mail reported an operating loss of £319m for the first half of 2023-24.

Responding to criticism around the price rises, Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “We always consider price changes very carefully but we face a situation where letter volumes have reduced dramatically over recent years while costs have increased.

“It is no longer sustainable to maintain a network built for 20 billion letters when we are now only delivering seven billion.

“As a result of letter volume decline, our posties now have to walk more than three times as far to deliver the same number of letters as before, increasing the delivery costs per letter.”

Striking mail workers and supporters march to Parliament Square on December 9, 2022 (Getty Images)
Striking mail workers and supporters march to Parliament Square on December 9, 2022 (Getty Images)

Ofcom, which regulates the Royal Mail, has recommended reforms to its service to cut costs, including a possible reduction of delivery days from six to five – or even as few as three.

UK money guru Martin Lewis has recommended people stock up on stamps ahead of the price hike, especially if they are regularly use the postal service.

“For years, every time stamps go up in price I’ve suggested people stock up and bulk-buy in advance,” he said.

“Provided the stamp doesn’t have a price on it and instead just says the postage class, it’s still valid after the hike”.