The price of a first-class postage stamp will rise to above £1 for the first time next month, the Royal Mail has announced.
The delivery firm has revealed it will increase the price of a first-class stamp by 15p from 95p to £1.10p from April 3, 2023.
Second-class stamp prices are also being hiked by 7p from 68p to 75p. The Royal Mail has said the increases are needed to ensure that the universal service, which means any letter delivery costs the same irrespective of the distance, “remains sustainable”.
The group said it made the decision after witnessing a 25% decline in letter numbers since the pandemic, as well as higher cost inflation.
Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail said: “We appreciate that many businesses and households are facing a challenging economic environment and we are committed to keeping our prices affordable.
“Letters have declined by 25% compared to pre-pandemic.
“We have to carefully balance our pricing against a continued decline in letter volumes and the increasing costs of delivering letters six days a week to an ever-growing number of addresses across the country.
“We need to make these price changes to ensure we can continue to maintain and invest in the one-price-goes-anywhere universal service for years to come.”
However, the charity Citizens Advice has condemned the increase, which it said could not come at a worse time for consumers hit by the cost of living crisis.
Matthew Upton, director of policy at Citizens Advice, said: “These record-breaking prices couldn’t be coming at a worse time for consumers, who’ll now be paying 64% more for a first-class stamp than five years ago. Almost one in five people are already struggling with current prices for second-class stamps.
“Royal Mail is choosing to hike prices at a time when millions are missing important letters, thanks to post delays. Nobody should be paying more for this kind of sub-par service.”
Royal Mail expects to make an operating loss of up to £450m this year and has also asked the government to reduce its obligation to deliver letters six days a week, to five days.