Stat of the day: 46p

The cost of a first-class stamp if price rises by Royal Mail go ahead.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
The price of a first class stamp could take its biggest leap yet, if a 5p price increase goes ahead. At the moment, the price is set at 41p but could rise to 46p in an attempt to boost Royal Mail’s (admittedly dwindling) revenue by £380m a year. The postal service, which loses 6.4p for each stamped letter it delivers, says it needs the cash to tackle falling profits and to maintain the universal service, which means it delivers to all 28m UK addresses for the same price.  

While an extra 5p isn’t likely to break your bank balance, the announcement’s controversial because it’s the largest price hike since the first class stamp was introduced in 1968 - although the biggest rise in percentage terms was in 1981. Britain’s postal regulator Postcomm has dealt a further blow by saying it’s removing the cap on how much Royal Mail can charge for heavier parcels.

It comes at a time when Britons are bracing themselves for inflated food prices, a rise in VAT and job cuts next year. Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers' Union, cheerily adds that it’s a sign of things to come if the Royal Mail is privatised. ‘46p for a stamp will be nothing in comparison to what lies ahead.' So that’s some consolation, at least...

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