United Kingdom

Cost of first class stamps rise from 76p to 85p in the New Year

Royal Mail has brought forward an inflation-busting increase in the price of stamps, blaming Covid-19 and a fall in the number of letters.

A first-class stamp will go up by 9p to 85p – an increase of nearly 12 per cent – from January 1. However, the price of second-class stamps will rise by only 1p to 66p.

Normally, Royal Mail does not increase the price of stamps until the end of March, but bosses said the early rises were ‘necessary to help ensure the sustainability’ of the universal service.

Royal Mail confirmed a first-class stamp will go up by 9p to 85p – an increase of nearly 12 per cent – from January 1. However, the price of second-class stamps will rise by only 1p to 66p

The announcement came amid rumours that deliveries on Saturdays may be abandoned to cut costs.

Royal Mail said letter volumes had fallen 28 per cent in the six months to September 27 year on year, and the pandemic had cost it £85 million in PPE, absences, overtime and agency staff.

A spokesman said: 'The reduction in letter volumes has had a significant impact on the finances of the universal service which lost £180 million in the first half of the year.

'This demonstrates the need for change in the universal service. We are working tirelessly to deliver the most comprehensive service we can in difficult circumstances as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our operation.'

Royal Mail said letter volumes had fallen 28 per cent in the six months to September 27 year on year, and the pandemic had cost it £85 million in PPE, absences, overtime and agency staff

Defending the price rises, the company added that the Covid-19 pandemic had cost it £85 million during the period on protective equipment, covering absences, overtime and agency staff.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: 'Like other companies, 2020 has been a challenging year for Royal Mail.

'Our people have worked tirelessly to keep the UK connected throughout the pandemic and associated restrictions.

'These price increases will help us continue to deliver and sustain the Universal Service in challenging circumstances.'

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