From 2 April 2024, the price of First Class stamps will increase by 10p to £1.35 and the price of Second Class stamps will increase by 10p to 85p.

Royal Mail has sought to keep price increases as low as possible in the face of increasing cost pressures and wage increases, declining letter volumes and lack of reform of the Universal Service Obligation (USO).

Letter volumes have fallen from 20 billion in 2004/5 to seven billion a year in 2022/3, while the number of addresses has risen by four million in the same period. The average adult spends less than £7 a year on stamped letters and people now receive on average just two letters per week.

The USO – which requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to all 32 million UK addresses six days a week – is in need of urgent reform.

Delivering an ever-decreasing number of letters to an ever-growing number of households six days a week is increasingly expensive and unsustainable.

Postal regulator Ofcom has recently opened a call for inputs to look at options for reform of the USO given the dramatic reduction in letter volumes in recent years.

The new price of First and Second Class stamps remain well below European mean average prices of £1.66 for First Class and £1.26 for Second Class.*

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail said: “We always consider price changes very carefully, but we face a situation where letter volumes have reduced dramatically over recent years, while costs have increased.  It is no longer sustainable to maintain a network built for 20 billion letters when we are now only delivering seven billion.

“As a result of letter volume decline, our posties now have to walk more than three times as far to deliver the same number of letters as before, increasing the delivery costs per letter.

“It is vital that the Universal Service adapts to reflect changing customer preferences so that we can protect the one-price-goes anywhere service, now and in the future.”