Royal Mail could be allowed to set the price for stamps. The plans will only apply to first class stamps which currently cost 46p. But there are fears the price could hit £1. At present, the Royal Mail is required to deliver a piece of mail anywhere in the UK, six days a week for a set standard fee.
UK regulatory body Ofcom wants to take away the limit the amount Royal Mail can charge for its services. The proposals could come into force as soon as April. Bigger increases could be imposed – without any right of challenge – if the government accepts to abandon price controls.
Back in April, a spokesman of the Consumer Focus said that ‘consumers would be incredibly concerned at the prospect of further price rises and what these proposals might mean for the current universal service.’ ‘It is important that there is a mechanism that consumers know will look out for their interests ensure that any price rises are justified,’ he added.
Still, the price of the second-class will remain under control. The second-class stamp has already risen from 19p in 2000 to 36p today.
The online giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have a tremendous impact on the Royal Mail, which only carries 62m pieces of post now, in comparison to 80m in 2006. Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene argued that the company would collapse unless regulatory changes were made.
With mail volumes falling rapidly due to the competition from electronic communications, a real letter or a piece of mail written on real paper and dropped in the post boxes down the street will be a rare view.