From the 4th of April 2022, the price of a 1st Class stamp will increase by 10p to 95p and the price of a 2nd Class stamp will increase by 2p to 68p.

That’s a massive rise in the cost of a 1st Class stamp and would appear to be a clear statement of intent that they’d rather you just settle for 2nd Class or not post letters at all… parcels is where they see their future. Indeed Royal Mail say that they have considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation. Letter volumes have declined by more than 60% since their peak in 2004/5, and around 20% since the start of the pandemic.

Overall, these changes are broadly in line with inflation and are necessary to ensure the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service remains sustainable. The Universal Service Obligation (USO) requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to 31 million home and business addresses across the UK six days a week at the same price.

– Royal Mail

What we’d really like to see is if the price of a Stamp is now going to cost 50% more than it did 10 years ago, (In 2012 the price of a 1st Class stamp rose to 60p), whether we’ll get the service to match the price. In their latest Quality of Service report they only achieved 76.8% of 1st Class mail being delivered on time (against a target of 93%).

We understand that many companies and households are finding it hard in the current economic environment, and we will always keep our prices as affordable as possible.

Whilst the number of letters our postmen and women deliver has declined from around 20 billion a year to around 7 billion since 2004/5, the number of addresses they have to deliver to has grown by around 3.5 million in the same period. We need to carefully balance our pricing against declining letter volumes and increasing costs of delivering to a growing number of addresses six days a week.

As customer needs change and we see a greater shift from letters to parcels, it is vital that the Universal Service adapts to stay relevant and sustainable. These price changes are necessary to ensure we can continue to maintain and invest in the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service for future generations.

– Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail

Royal Mail say that their stamp prices remain among the best value in Europe compared to other postal operators, with their research showing that the European average price for 1st Class letters (0-100g) is £1.36.