Following a meeting with Royal Mail last week, the Greeting Card Association (GCA) was reassured to hear the company’s plans to ensure Christmas 2023 would be delivered on time. However, the Association was concerned about Royal Mail’s new year intentions which include increasing the price of a second class stamp, which currently costs 75p.
While the GCA says it appreciates Royal Mail’s Christmas 2023 plans – their ‘We Are Christmas’ viral advert, their recruitment of 16,000 seasonal workers, five additional temporary sorting centres and an incentive scheme for their operational employees – the Association confirmed it would campaign against the Royal Mail’s plans to persuade the government that further price increases and regulatory freedoms were appropriate for the country’s second class stamps in the New Year.
Plus, as Ofcom looks at the need to ‘evolve’ the Universal Service Obligation (USO)(more here), the GCA also confirmed it would robustly counter any move to water down the Royal Mail’s commitment to deliver six days a week, anywhere in the UK, taken on a decade ago.
On Wednesday (29 November) at the House of Commons, as part of the GCA’s #Cardmitment campaign, it will meet MPs to encourage them to make a commitment that includes:
- backing Ofcom’s announcement that the price of a second-class stamp should be capped at the rate of inflation until at least 2029.
- supporting local posties, and protecting communities up and down the country by backing the Royal Mail’s obligation to deliver everywhere in the UK.
However, the GCA’s members want their voice to be heard – not least because over 40 per cent of the British public now say they only use Royal Mail for sending greeting cards.
In a survey of its members carried out earlier this year, respondents said that wanted the Royal Mail to deliver on-time, frequently, at an affordable price six days a week. But 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.
Amanda Fergusson, chief executive of the GCA, stated: “Our members have been very clear about what they want from the Royal Mail service they, and their customers, rely on. They value, cherish and support what we have, and are concerned that it’s at risk from the steps Royal Mail propose for next year.”
She emphasised that 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 everywhere, all the time – and at a great price. Rolling back from what we have is non-negotiable for them. It’s simply a remarkable British treasure that we can send a card absolutely anywhere in the country for a very reasonable 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 this Christmas. 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.