Stamp price rise may affect postal habits
Published on 28 March 2012 11:30 AM
Older people are likely to be hard hit by the rise in first and second class stamps prices, which will jump up to 60p and 50p respectively. That is according to Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK, who accepts many older people do not have access to the internet, and so are heavily reliant on the postal services.
From April 30, prices will rise from the current 46p for a first class stamp to 60p, while second class stamps will jump from the current 36p to 50p.
The cost of posting large letters will shoot up from 75p to 90p for first class and from 58p to 69p for second class.
Ms Mitchell said: 'While we understand that there is a need for compromise between full price deregulation and ensuring that the postal service remains affordable, Age UK is disappointed that the cap for the second price stamp has been set so high.
'Not all older people have access to the internet and many rely on the post.
'The Royal Mail should let consumers know how long it will take for a second class letter to arrive so that they can plan accordingly when it comes to paying bills or sending birthday cards in order to avoid paying more than necessary.'
Royal Mail maintains that even after the 30% price increase for first class stamps and 39% for second class, first class stamps are around the average price in Europe, while second class stamps will still actually be the cheapest.
Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: 'We know how hard it is for households and businesses when our economy is as tough as it is now. No one likes to raise prices in the current economic climate but, regretfully, we have no option.
'Royal Mail provides one of the highest quality postal services in Europe for amongst the lowest prices for both consumers and business.'
The increase comes after regulator Ofcom announced it was to give Royal Mail the freedom to set its own prices.
Millions of people on low incomes will be given a helping hand covering the price of stamps for Christmas. They will be able to buy up to 36 stamps for the festive season at the current price.
It remains to be seen how the increases will affect people's posting habits. The number of letters posted is already down to 59 million a day, compared with 84 million a day in 2006.
Copyright Press Association 2012