Effective yesterday, the cost of a first class stamp in the UK rose 5 pence to £0.46, the single largest price increase ever on record. For you yanks, that is the equivalent of $0.74 for a single first class US stamp.
Rationale for the price hike according to a Royal Mail Spokesperson: " With the sharp declines in mail volume - a 20% fall in five years - our revenues are falling. That means if we don't generate more income, we will simply not be able to keep funding our six-days-a-week collection, sorting, transport and delivery operation to the UK's 28 million homes and businesses. Royal Mail lost £16.3 million on stamped mail in the last financial year. This is equivalent to a 6.4p loss on average on every stamped item, which the price hikes should go towards covering."
Now a comment from the peanut gallery: I have painfully witnessed first hand the inner workings of the Royal Mail operation - too many free standing post offices, lack of technology modernization (who hand peels stamps off a sheet and gives to customers - why am I even "licking stamps"), bureaucracy in the pick-up of mail and parcels (akin to the Abbott and Costello gag, "Who's on First" - no one ever seems to want to own up as to where I can pick up a package).
I could go on, but I won't. Suffice to say, I only foresee mail volumes continuing to drop with the increase use of online ecards and other technology. Sure, there will always be a need for "snail mail", but as volumes decrease (as they inevitable will), will price hikes be the best way to address that. Doubt it...shouldn't Royal Mail be getting to the root problem?
Sorry, this change consultant just can't help herself sometimes.