Suffolk: Charity chief executive’s message to older people after stamp price hike

OLDER people are being urged to stockpile stamps to delay the effect of the 14p increase in posting letters.

The Royal Mail announced yesterday the cost of posting letters will rise, with first and second-class stamps costing 60p and 50p respectively.

Daphne Savage, chief executive of Age UK Suffolk, said: “This is a huge increase to impose in one go and the people it hits the most are those who do not have access to computers so they have to use the postal system to keep in touch.

“Although many retired people do have and use computers, a majority do not, either because of the cost of buying them or they have never learned to use a computer.

“If older people can afford it, I would encourage them stock up on stamps [only buying just marked first or second class, not those with the price on them] before the deadline to delay the effect of this large increase in the cost.”

Royal Mail warned the universal service, under which post is delivered to any house in the UK for the same price, was “in peril without higher stamp prices”.

Chief executive Moya Greene said: “This is a very high-quality, cherished service, but it needs to be paid for. The increase will restore our finances and maintain the universal service. We had no alternative but to increase prices.”

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Prices will rise from the current 46p for first class and 36p for second class from April 30, while the cost of posting large letters will increase from 75p to 90p for first class and 58p to 69p for second class.

Mrs Savage added: “This is going to hit charities too, of all sizes, who use the mail to send newsletters to their clients or supporters. We mail 14,000 older people in Suffolk twice a year with an information magazine and that one activity will cost us nearly �4,000 more.

“We receive hundreds of enquiries a week at our help centres which require us to send information out by post, that will add another �2,100 to our costs.”

John Dugmore, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said the price rise will affect small businesses. “Whilst we understand this strategic decision is designed to safeguard the UK’s postal service, ensuring it is sustainable and high-quality, these price rises will not be welcomed by the majority,” he added.

“Whilst we note the news that small business will receive some discounts on some products, it does not go far enough.

“This is yet another rising cost to business on a service that is used by the majority and so the Chamber calls for the extension of a price freeze throughout 2012, in what will continue to be a difficult year for many households and businesses.”