*********PRESS RELEASE 20th January 2024********
- Weekend reports suggest review will be launched next week that will pave way for axing of Saturday letters delivery
- Undermining universal, six-day delivery at a fair price could bring a Beeching-style
axe to the postal service – at the expense of rural and urban communities.
This weekend news reports suggested Ofcom will publish proposals next Wednesday to dilute the Royal Mail’s ‘Universal Service Obligation’ by suggesting Saturday deliveries are scrapped.
In reaction to these reports, The UK’s Greeting Card Association’s chief executive officer Amanda Fergusson said:
“We will participate actively with this consultation when it’s announced.
“Our 500-plus members have been very clear – our creative industry depends on a postal service that remains reliable, national and affordable – commitments that cannot be diluted.
“A service that delivers on-time, to all UK households and at a simple flat price that’s good value, is crucial to the future of our both our members and their communities.
“In a survey of members carried late last year they said they needed Royal Mail deliver on-time, frequently, at an affordable price six days a week.
“We will robustly counter any move to water down that obligation. “It seems perverse that Royal Mail may be rewarded for the reduction in service levels over the last few years, with a loosening of its obligations.
“Its first priority must be to restore trust with customers and consumers by delivering on its current promises, breaking free from the continuous doom spiral of poor performance leading to a never ending number of regulatory interventions.”
Late last year the GCA confirmed it would campaign against the Royal Mail’s plans to persuade the government that further price increases and regulatory freedoms were appropriate – especially in relation to the value offered by the second class stamp.
The GCA’s members, who make up a £1.5bn creative industry, want their voice to be heard – not least because 42 per cent of the British public now say they only use Royal Mail for sending greeting cards.
They also said it was time for the Royal Mail to be more creative in driving demand rather than hiking prices and cutting services in an attempt to manage financial weakness.
“Card sending is part of keeping families and communities together. But being able to put a smile on someone’s face from receiving a card, relies on a service that delivers on time, all the time, right across the UK – and at a great price.
“Rolling back from what we have is non-negotiable for our members.
“Under Beeching, we lost much of the railways we loved because no one had the imagination to ask what they could be.
“We must not let that happen to our Royal Mail service. It’s simply a remarkable British treasure that we can send a card absolutely anywhere in the country for 75p.
“In the decades ahead, I am certain we would rue the loss of this service that unites our nation and is part of what makes us British.
“Of course, our members are not unfamiliar with the economic challenges facing the Royal Mail – they run and operate businesses large and small too.
“But they’re asking the Royal Mail to step back and re-imagine what the service could be, rather than manage for decline – and very importantly, they stand ready to help with their creativity, passion and love of the service their local postie provides.”
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.
Contact Nick Agarwal or Andrea Ross at the GCA press office: email@example.com