UK Greeting Card Association reacts to BBC Panorama programme on Royal Mail

Feb 27, 2024 | Press Releases

**** Press release Tuesday 27th February 2024

The Greeting Card Association today reacted to last night’s BBC Panorama programme lifting the lid on Royal Mail management prioritising parcel delivery over letters –  in contradiction of assurances given to Ofcom and to the GCA directly.

The GCA’s chief executive officer Amanda Fergusson said:

“Our members are deeply concerned that Panorama has uncovered further evidence that Royal Mail has been systemically prioritising parcel deliveries ahead of letters.

“This directly contradicts evidence given by Royal Mail to both Ofcom and to the government that Royal Mail’s failure to meet the delivery standards laid out under the Universal Service Obligation (USO) did not result from a change in policy.

“Panorama now confirms what our members have told us – that the Royal Mail continues to batch letters and deliver them behind parcels. 

“In addition to the evidence we understand was supplied to Ofcom by the BEIS committee, two national newspapers and the CWU, we provided details of our members’ experiences directly to both the Royal Mail and the regulator.

“However Ofcom declared in November that it ‘did not identify any suggestion that Royal Mail’s senior management had directed the prioritisation of parcels over letters outside of recognised contingency plans.[1]

“Given Panorama’s findings, we would ask that Ofcom makes good on the promise made to us on January 15 and advise what steps they have since taken to hold the Royal Mail to the delivery standards the public both demands and pays for. 

“They, like our members expect a postal service that’s national, reliable and affordable and they’re not getting it.

“We continue to be concerned that Ofcom though its current USO consultation seems to be assuming an outcome that will see postal deliveries cut back to five or even as few as three days each week – without properly considering the clear steps Royal Mail management could take to immediately return its letters service to a position of greater stability.

“It appears the public is being asked to accept a further diminishing of service levels as a consequence of Royal Mail’s inability to meet the service standards already proscribed in law.

“We cannot stand by and let this happen – as Panorama makes clear, the public demand a better service than the one currently being offered. 

“Our vibrant, creative, £1.5bn British greetings card industry relies on a Royal Mail service that we can all trust to deliver on time, all the time. 

“Ofcom and government need to listen harder to our members and others, like us, who have a deep love and appreciation for the service our Royal Mail provides.

“A restructured USO is not, as Ofcom seems to suggest, a purely economic consideration. 

“As the public outcry to their proposals to cut delivery services suggests, it’s much more than that – people in Britain want the Royal Mail to deliver what it promises.”

Through its #Cardmitment campaign, the GCA is encouraging people make a commitment to send cards. 

It is asking politicians and other stakeholders to also make a commitment to keeping postal prices low and supporting the Royal Mail’s obligation to deliver to any address in the UK, six days a week.

The GCA continues to support Ofcom’s commitment to peg second class post prices for consumers – for just 75p because of the extraordinary value that provides. 

Further information:              Nick Agarwal, +44 (0)7568 101045

                                                Andrea Ross, +44 (0)7961 776339


Editors’ Notes

Benefits to Mental Wellbeing

  • Cards are tangible and tactile – They not only create an emotional connection between the sender and recipient but a physical one too, knowing the card has been touched by both parties.  They can be held, kept and cherished.  The words inside are a physical record and together with the imagery on a card, makes that message more memorable.  When information is presented both verbally and visually, we are more likely to remember it. 
  • The benefits to mental wellbeing are numerous.  The recipient can feel more socially connected and less alone.  Reducing a sense of isolation through sending a card is an easy way to make a difference and show that you are thinking of that person.  
  • Knowing that someone has taken the time to choose a card sends a clear message that they want to keep in touch.  They may also feel more worthwhile and valued, knowing that someone has put in the care and effort to send a card. 
  • For an anniversary or birthday, the sender will feel reassured that they haven’t been forgotten and that their relationship is appreciated.  A sympathy card can communicate comfort and tenderness, a get well card can inspire hope and show how much you care, whereas a birthday or just because can convey humour, fun and happiness.
  • It isn’t just the recipient that benefits psychologically from receiving a card, but the sender too.  Research shows that being kind and generous leads to more positive mood and less anxiety[2].  The evidence certainly points to the fact that sending and receiving cards leads to greater happiness through keeping us emotionally connected. 

About the Greeting Card Association

  • The Greeting Card Association (GCA) is an independent, not-for-profit trade organisation operating for the benefit of its members and has been the voice of the greeting card industry, providing support to its members since 1919.
  • The GCA embraces over 500 publishers, retailers, agents, distributors and recommended suppliers of materials and services and is the voice of the British greeting card industry, representing the industry to stakeholders such as postal service providers, government, colleges and schools.
  • Greeting cards themselves are part of a world-leading British creative industry worth over £1.5bn to the UK economy, at the forefront of innovative design and delivering important export revenue to the UK.
  • Consumers in the UK, spent £1.5 billion on single greeting cards in 2022, excluding packs and boxes of cards and the British send more cards per person than any other nation.
  • Greeting cards build relationships.  Sending and receiving a greeting card creates a strong connection and the GCA’s members facilitates and celebrates positive communication between people of all backgrounds.
  • The GCA’s purpose is to ensure the wellbeing of the greeting card industry and to promote the absolute joy of sending and receiving a well-chosen card.  Its mission is to passionately support the growth and promotion of the greeting card industry and its vision is for everyone to feel connected by the sending and receiving of greeting cards.



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