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Cost of first class stamp to rise above £1 for first time, Royal Mail announces

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The cost of a first class stamp will rise to £1.10 early next month, Royal Mail has announced, breaking the £1 barrier for the first time.The company said it would increase the price of a first class stamp by 15p from 3 April, a year after it went up by 10p to 95p.

The price of a second class stamp is also going up, by 7p to 75p.The charity Citizens Advice condemned the increase, which it said could not come at a worse time for consumers hit by the soaring food and energy bills owing to the cost of living crisis.Royal Mail said the increases were needed to ensure the universal service, which means letter delivery costs the same irrespective of distance, “remains sustainable”.

Its decision follows a 25% decline in letters since the pandemic.The 507-year-old business, which was privatised in 2013, has been hit by repeated strikes in a long-running dispute with the Communication Workers Union over pay and changes to working conditions, and was also the victim of a cyber-attack earlier this year that halted international parcel and letter deliveries.It expects to make an operating loss of up to £450m this year.Royal Mail said it remained committed to the universal service but that costs were increasing as “customer behaviours change”.

It has asked the government to reduce its obligation to deliver letters six days a week, to five days.Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “We appreciate that many businesses and households are facing a challenging economic environment and we are committed to keeping our prices affordable.

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