ALTHOUGH there are alternative means of communication to the traditional letter, the postal service and our post offices remain an intrinsic part of daily life.
Legislation passed last year in the Postal Services Act set up large-scale reforms of the regulatory framework for post. Ofcom – the independent regulator and watchdog – published its final decisions on this framework in March this year.
Royal Mail faces financial challenges and in parliament the Select Committee on Business reported (also in March) that some increase in the price of stamps was appropriate.
When household budgets are under pressure any price rise is going to be greeted with concern. However, Royal Mail is providing a service across the United Kingdom, for a standard price. It is welcome that Royal Mail said, when announcing the price rises, that it will have a scheme to offer discounted stamps to vulnerable consumers at Christmas this year.
It was also clear that Royal Mail has made efforts to make sure there were stamps on sale because the books of stamps created to mark the diamond jubilee have been released for sale a bit earlier than intended.
So, if you see a blue/grey first-class stamp instead of a gold one, turn it at an angle and it will reveal the legend ‘diamond jubilee’ printed across it.
On April 2, Post Office Ltd became a separate company (with its own independent board), rather than being a subsidiary of the Royal Mail Group.
The post office network is being supported by government funding so there are no post office closure programmes. Under the last government the then closure programme reduced the number of branches by a third. There will be at least 11,500 post office branches across the country, supported by the total £1.34billion funding package.
MP for Chesham and Amersham