Royal Mail have rebranded the inland service into UK Standard, UK Confirmed and UK Guaranteed.
UK Standard is the basic service.
The price of 1st and 2nd class letters remains unchanged at 60p and 50p; the price of Large Letters also remains unchanged at all weight-steps.
The item headed 'UK Confirmed' was Recorded Signed For and will now be branded as Royal Mail Signed For. It offers a signature on delivery for £1.10 (increased from 95p). Two redesigned stamps will be issued for this 'Signed For' service - see below. The new stamps will be priced at £1.55 and £1.85 on issue and £1.70 and £2.00 from 2 April.
UK Guaranteed includes the Special Delivery 9am and 1pm services for letters. The cost of the minimum 100g 1pm service is £6.22 (old rate £5.90). The 500g rate is £6.95 (up from £6.35). The 100g 9am service rises from £16.70 to £17.64.
Inland packet and parcel rates have undergone a radical overhaul and it is best to download the Rate Leaflet as a pdf file here .
The current 87p airmail rate for worldwide postcards, 10g letters Worldwide and 20g letters to Europe increases to 88p with a new Machin definitive and new Country definitive stamps.
The current £1.28 rate for Europe to 40g and Worldwide 20g letters remains unchanged.
The Worldwide 40g letter rate is reduced from £1.90 to £1.88 (so a new stamp).
The category previously known as Small Packets up to 100g is now referred to as Small Parcels up to 100g. The prices increase from £2.70 to £3 Europe and from £3.30 to £3.50 rest of the World.
Airmail rates over 100g are reduced to 8 steps of 250g, replacing 21 steps. This means some complicated changes, some up some down. Whilst the current rates to Europe are £2.93 (150g), £3.16 (200g) & £3.39 (250g) these all rise to £3.50 for 250g.
On the other hand the Zone 1 rate for most of the rest of the world becomes £4.50 for 250g, replacing £3.86, £4.42 & £4.98 for the same three weight steps. This pattern is followed for higher weight steps: Europe is more expensive, many rates for the rest of the world are lower at the top of each step (say 900g & 1kg), but higher than the lower weights (800g). Mail order suppliers will need to examine their products and packages to assess what to charge from April.
International Signed For rises from £5.15 to £5.30; Airsure is complicated by VAT within EU countries, but the rates appear to be the same.
Surface mail - the basic 20g rate increases from 77p to 78p (new stamp). Weight steps above 100g are regrouped in 250g steps as for airmail. The 500g rate is 1p cheaper than before.
The new Machin Definitives and official colours out 27 March 2013:78p Orchid Mauve, 88p Amber Yellow, £1.88 Sapphire Blue.
The NVIs are Flame with a Yellow Flash - there, we thought they would change to red! The inscription is changed from RECORDED SIGNED FOR to ROYAL MAIL SIGNED FOR (wonder why they didn't use ROYAL MAIL CONFIRMED?)
Some images of actual stamps are now available.
UPDATE 22 March (see below)
Although the official information from Royal Mail was that these would be printed by De La Rue as normal, we now understand that the new value Machin definitives are printed by Walsall Security Print (in gravure). The Signed For may be printed by Cartor - which means in litho as far as we know. One report said that Enschede were involved as well, but we haven't had any of this confirmed by Royal Mail.
UPDATE 12 MARCH:
We now have images of the 88p country definitives. As with the Machin images above these are studio mock-ups not actual stamps:
[22 March] We've been told unofficially that these are printed by Cartor on one primary sheet of eight grid positions, five grid positions for England, one each for Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales in sheets of 25.
UPDATED 25 March (and edited)
Royal Mail have now confirmed that the valued stamps were printed only* by Walsall Security Print, the country stamps only by Cartor (in litho), and the Royal Mail Signed For by De La Rue (in gravure).
I have had confirmation from Post Office sources that the Signed For stamps have been delivered to the Swindon Supplies Depot and are being distributed to Branches by special delivery this week. My local office has no Signed For yet.
* As with many 'confirmations' this was only the partial truth. Whilst the stamps distributed to Post Office branches for the issue date were as stated above, the distribution from the Royal Mail Philatelic Bureau was:
- FDCs and presentation packs: all De La Rue
- single stamps to standing order customers: mainly De La Rue but some Walsall SP
- blocks to standing order customers: Walsall Security Print
Distribution to registered dealers was the same as to PO branches.