Friday 27 February 2015

New Royal Mail postage rates from 30 March 2015 - some losers, but many winners.

As expected Royal Mail have announced the new tariff for inland and international post to take effect from 30 March 2015. Under the current regulatory regime the company is required to give 30 days notice of any material changes.

While there are expected small increases in some rates, there are significant reductions in others and a further restructuring of international letter and inland parcel rates and weights.

Headline changes

Inland 1st and 2nd class letters rise by 1p to 63p and 54p respectively.
1st class Large Letters rise by 2p to 95p and 2nd class by 1p to 74p.
Royal Mail signed for fee remains £1.10 and there are small rises in Special Delivery rates.

The basic International letter rate rises as expected to £1 from 97p. This covers European letters up to 20g, Worldwide letters up to 10g and postcards. In a further restructuring the 60g weight step is abolished with the new rates for 100g being only slightly more than the present rates for 60g, so a significant 35% reduction on the present 100g rates.   The surface mail rate rises from 81p to 85p.
A new category of International Large Letter is introduced with four weight steps from 100g to 750g. This replaces the current small parcel up to 100g and offers a welcome reduction in that rate, from £3.20 / £3.80 / £4.00 for Europe / World Zone 1 / World Zone 2 to £2.45 / £3.15 / £3.45.

For inland parcels the trial £2.80 rate for 2nd Class Small Parcels up to 2kg is retained on a permanent basis. For Medium Parcels the 1st class rates are unchanged, but 2nd class rates are reduced with a single rate up to 2kg of £4.89, down from £5.20 for 1kg and £8.00 for 2kg, a saving of 38%!

No new stamps are required for the inland letter rates, nor the Signed For or Special Delivery rates. New stamps for international letters will be

£1.33 replacing £1.28 for World 20g
£1.52 replacing £1.47 for Europe 60g becoming 100g
£2.25 replacing £2.15 for Worldwide 60g which becomes 100g

Whilst no new £1 Machin stamp is required Royal Mail may take the opportunity to change the colour again, despite some Post Office branches still selling the £1 ruby! There will be new £1 country definitives in the Oak Tree, Lace, Thistle and Daffodil designs.

Post and Go / Self-Service Kiosks

The biggest change for collectors comes in the Post and Go Faststamps which will see service indicators change again. The overall cost of a collectors set rises from £7.42 to £7.68. Will we see the installation of new static machines before the new tariff takes effect?  (They wouldn't be that cynical would they?)

1st class 100g
1st Large 100g
Europe 60g*
Worldwide 20g
Worldwide 60g*
* changing to 100g

It is to be hoped that the cupboards full of old Faststamp stock have all been used up and we will not see the appearance of everything from Birds 1 to Winter Greenery with the new service indicators. As Wincor-Nixdorf machines are supposed to be out of service by the time the new tariff is in force the only changes will be on NCR Self-Service Kiosks and IAR's Royal Mail II machines at exhibitions and static locations.
News of the colours etc of new stamps will be published when provided by Royal Mail - see

UPDATE  31 March
Preparing my first International Tracked and Signed despatch of the week, I find that a subtle change has been introduced which will require authors who publish postal history rates tables to reassess how they present information. Until the new rates came into operation on 30th March, the additional cost of International Signed, International Tracked and Signed, and International Tracked could be regarded as a fee because, leaving aside the inclusion of VAT for International Tracked to EU countries, the additional cost for all of these services was a flat £5 per item.

When I looked at the new rates I thought that the £5 had been retained.  And indeed for 'Letters' it has: a 20g Tracked and Signed Letter costs £6 to Europe and £6.33 to the rest of the world.  But for Large Letters and Small Parcels things have changed and the additional cost varies according to the item and the weight.

For instance a 100g Large Letter costs £2.45 by Standard mail, but £8.70 by Tracked and Signed, a premium of £5.65.  But the price of a Large Letter weighing 500-750g is £11.00 by TandS compared with £6.60 by Standard - a premium of only £4.40.  The premium for Small Parcels and Printed Papers varies from £4.75 at the first weight step to £3.50 for the top 2kg band.

This leaves small businesses who use flat-rate postage with a problem of how to set their new postage charges, and means that postal historians of the future will need to know the whole table, rather than applying simply the standard postage plus a fixed premium.


  1. Overall, quite "happy" with that. I'm glad there is a large letter rate for overseas. I always wondered what a 60g+ letter looked like within the normal size dimensions...
    Time to do some arithmetic and work out how to make £1.33 with stamps issued over the last 5 years or so.
    I guess it will be May for nice stamps with the new values on.
    "Surface mail" goes up from 81p to 85p.

  2. Cupboards of old stock used up? I hope you're right Ian, but I respectfully doubt it!

  3. Wincor machine was still in use in Carmarthen on Saturday 7th March. Dispensing MA13 Machins

    1. Thanks Trevor - no Working Sails seen there, then?

  4. Let’s hope that there is no repeat of last year’s missing value problem this time. I wonder how many people got and kept those examples.

  5. It now seems that the price is the same for the former ISF and Airsure services now international tracked / signed and international tracked.
    Also the option to upgrade compensation from £250 to £500 for certain countries seems to have been removed it was certainly there with the 2013 rates unsure about 2014.

    1. As indicated above, last year

      "the additional cost of International Signed, International Tracked and Signed, and International Tracked could be regarded as a fee because the additional cost for all of these services was a flat £5 per item."


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