It has been reported this week that the Royal Mail are increasing the rates of first and second class postage stamps. Moya Greene, head of Royal Mail, this week announced a whacking 30 per cent increase in the price of a first-class stamp from 46p to 60p. Second-class stamps will rise by even more, from 36p to 50p.
Now the cynical amongst us may comment that Miss Greene, whose £500,000 a year salary makes her one of our highest-paid public employees, made her price-rise decision with brisk unsentimentality and this coupled with her reference to the fact that this is less than the price of most chocolate bars is difficult to swallow (unlike said chocolate bar). I happened to comment on Twitter that most small businesses dont buy countless chocolate bars a day but they do despatch countless orders by Royal Mail. (This was subsequently supported by a number of fellow small businesses).
This wont only affect small businesses but think about families at Christmas time, will you still send cards to all your relatives around the country if the cost of a couple of book of stamps is the difference between your children having snacks that week or not? In a tough economic climate, where families struggle to make ends meet, I think less and less people will use the service, despite the Royal Mail reporting that it is still the best value service in Europe.
In an era where email is already taking over the age old handwritten letter, these price rises dont inspire use of our Royal Mail system. There is something about a letter, they have an intimacy, you can hold them, smell them and in your temper burn or shred them if you so wish ...... hitting a delete button on a computer just doesnt have the same effect.