Royal Mail’s hidden price rise for second class stamps

Royal Mail’s hidden price rise for second class stamps
Charles III second class large barcode stamp

It has been widely reported that Royal Mail is set to increase the price of a first-class stamp from £1.10 to £1.35 from Monday 2nd October 2023, whilst at the same time loudly proclaiming that second-class post remains the same at 75 pence. Whilst this is factually correct, it omits a sneaky second-class stamp price rise which is hidden in the small print.

Standard letters will still be able to be sent second class at 75p, but large letters will be increasing from £1.15 to £1.55, a whopping 34.5% rise. Funny, that wasn’t highlighted anywhere in the press release.

We have all seemingly become so inured to the inevitable price rises in everything we buy that have forgotten that Royal Mail normally only raises their prices once a year, yet this is the second one in six months. In doing so, they have effectively admitted that they don’t want people to use the first-class service, by pricing it so far apart from the second-class service. No wonder, as the current first-class service is nothing of the sort and in most cases, indistinguishable from the second-class service. When there is no guarantee of next-day delivery, why would you pay almost twice to price for the service?

Anywhere you look online there are stories from individuals who have missed hospital appointments, received late birthday cards, and raised disputes with online sellers for non-delivery, all because Royal Mail cannot provide the next-day delivery service promised by the first-class service. Throughout all of this, they simply point to dropping mail volumes, increased costs, and the onerous restrictions of the Universal Service Obligation. Fine, but where are the solutions?

The reality is that the UK postal system is in disarray and raising stamp prices in nothing short of rearranging the deckchairs whilst the boat sinks. As Royal Mail is still effectively hamstrung by Government obligations, whilst being a privately owned business, the recipe for disaster is already in place. How long before the entire system for delivering mail reaches a crisis point and someone actually does something to sort this?

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