personal finance

Cost of first-class stamp to rise again to £1.35, says Royal Mail

The cost of first and second-class stamps is to go up again next month, after Royal Mail announced price rises of 10p a letter.

The fourth increase in two years will take the price of a first-class stamp to £1.35 and the cost of the second-class service to 85p and will come into effect on 2 April.

In March 2022, first-class stamps cost 85p and second-class stamps were 66p, but there has since been a run of increases, most recently in October.

Royal Mail said it had “sought to keep price increases as low as possible in the face of increasing cost pressures and wage increases, declining letter volumes and lack of reform of the universal service obligation (USO)”.

It said the number of letters sent had fallen from 20bn in 2004-05 to 7bn in 2022-23, while the number of addresses had risen by 4m.

The average UK adult now spends less than £7 a year on stamped letters and receives on average just two letters a week, it said.

The company, which was privatised in 2013, has been lobbying for changes to the USO, which requires it to deliver letters to the UK’s 32m addresses six days a week.

The postal regulator, Ofcom, which is reviewing the rules, recently suggested Royal Mail could save up to £650m if it delivered letters three days a week, and £200m if it stopped Saturday deliveries.

However, unions indicated they would not support a switch to a three-day-a-week model.

skip past newsletter promotion

Nick Landon, the 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 20bn letters when we are now only delivering 7bn.

“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.”

He added: “It is vital that the universal service adapts to reflect changing customer preferences so that we can protect the one-price-goes-anywhere service, now and in the future.”

Royal Mail said the new price of first- and second-class stamps remained below the average prices in Europe of £1.66 and £1.26 respectively.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.