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Cost of first-class stamps to rise

Greg Devine


Close Up Of Businesswoman Posting Letter Into City Mailbox

Royal Mail is set to increase the cost of a first-class stamp to 95p. This is a 10p rise from the previous price of 85p; however, I don’t think it will be that much of an issue.

Recently, I’ve been very critical of companies raising their costs, but this seems understandable. Besides, who sends letters anymore? I’m sure plenty of people do, but I struggle to see the point. Why spend time and money on a letter when you can email people for free?

I’ve not received a letter for the best part of a year. My bank gave me the option to go paperless, which I accepted. Now, I view my statements through an app, and if the bank needs to inform me of anything, they send me an email. I appreciate that, sometimes, you might need a physical bank statement—maybe for an identity check—but how often would this be? Some banking apps allow you to download a statement instantly anyway; at the very least, you can request that one is sent out to you.

What about pay slips? More and more companies are moving to a paperless solution. Online portals for employees are becoming common, and on these, you can view all your payslips. A paper copy could again be requested, if need be, e.g. if someone doesn’t have access to the internet.

I appreciate that this might come across as naïve or insensitive, but I foresee that, in my lifetime, letters will become a thing of the past. According to Royal Mail, there’s been a 60% decrease in letters since 2004/2005, which only strengthens my argument.

I don’t believe that parcels will suffer the same fate. The amount of online shopping we do will probably only increase in the future; consequently, so will the number of parcels to be delivered.

Red UK Post Box infant of grey brick wall

Red UK Post Box infant of grey brick wall

I really struggle to see a place for letters in modern society. Emails are free, secure and much better for the environment. A physical letter is no more secure than an email. Sure, emails can be hacked, but as long as people use the internet safely, this shouldn’t be an issue. A letter could just as easily be opened by the wrong person or sent to the wrong house. I’ve lived in my house for around fifteen years, and we still receive letters for a previous owner of the property.

Over time, as technologically literate generations become ‘the oldies’, it seems unlikely that letters will prove the communication method of choice. People will probably email others over formal matters and DM/WhatsApp about everything else.

Royal Mail have tried to introduce technology to their stamps by including a barcode that links to videos and other media. What’s the point of this, though? It seems to be just a gimmick, and not a well-executed one at that. It’s not a new innovation, and these wannabe QR codes can only be used within the Royal Mail app. It does make you wonder if this is a contributing factor to the price increase.

I’m struggling to accept the various price rises unfolding across the UK. When it comes to the price of stamps, however, I simply couldn’t care less. It doesn’t affect me, and I suspect, it won’t affect many other people.

All that said, I fully expect that the price to deliver/send parcels will soon follow suit, given how much the cost of fuel has shot up…I believe this will prove much more of a thorny issue with the general public.

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