This week marked the increase of British stamps by a penny today as the Royal Mail ups the cost of sending letters in the UK. Although a penny increase is nothing to stress over, does anyone actually know how much stamps cost now? The Royal Mail has defended the increase by stating it is necessary to ensure the sustainability of the postal service. Alright, alright, you can have my penny. The price of a single first class stamp is now 65p (previously 64) and if you wanted to wanted to send it with the slower, second-class service, you will be expected to pay 56p for the privilege (previously 55). The price hike is all too familiar, as they went up by the same amount in March 2016, leaving people to question whether this will be a regular occurrence. Many are saying that the prices were already considerably expensive and so do not welcome a price hike, no matter how small.
When stopped in the street and asked how much the cost of a stamp was, it seemed very few knew the real answer, with a large majority of people underestimating its cost, saying they thought a first class stamp cost around 50 – 55p. It is not just the regular stamps that have increased in price, and those wanting to send a large letter will have to pay 2p more as of now. Sending a large letter will now cost 98p for first class and 76p for second class. Many people were struggling to understand why the cost had gone up when the exact same service was being provided and if you can do things online for free these days, it seems the Royal Mail are just going to lose customers. Many said they are not surprised about the price hike because the postal service is no longer essential like it used to be and therefore less and less people are using it.
Quick to defend themselves, the Royal Mail jumped in with the excuses, claiming that although they have risen in price, their stamps remained the cheapest in Europe, with the average price of a first class stamp in Europe standing at a whopping 87p. They have said that they understand how hard it can be for people to afford their stamps and so any price changes have always been considered extremely carefully and do recognise the impact that they can have. But they continue to insist that changes are necessary so it is likely that the price will increase again in the coming years. Although many don’t actually use the postal service anymore, there are still older people that will actually put pen to paper and write a letter, so the postal service needs to be kept up and running. director of communications at Saga, Paul Green has said that the price increase is definitely worth it if it will keep the service up and running. He says that the main thing is to ensure it continues to run as it once did, and if the prices rise then so be it.