Friday 22 February 2019

Some prices up 8% - tariff changes from 25 March mean new definitives

Royal Mail have made an  announcement about tariff changes which take effect from 25 March 2019.  The new stamps will be issued on Tuesday 19th March.

UPDATE 26 February. 
The stamps for this tariff change are listed below. Note these colours are from publicity images and - as we have seen before - may be quite different when we get them!

£1.35 in orchid mauve (name previously used for £1.52 - in 2015)
£1.60 in amber yellow (name previously used for £1.33 - in 2015)
£2.30 in gooseberry green*
£2.80 in spruce green (name previously used for £2.45 - in 2015)
£3.45 in dark pine green (name previously used for £1.40 in 2017 which looks nothing like this)
£3.60 in bright orange

* This name was assigned to the £1.05, which had a colour much closer to the £2.80 shown below. The colour shown here is much closer to that of the £1.57 which had the colour tag 'Tarragon Green'.

I wonder why, when we have bright primary colours for 2nd, 1st and Signed For stamps and some low values, why Royal Mail can't use more bright colours for the airmail values?  (Images of actual stamps showing the correct colours are here.)

As usual the country definitives repeat the tired images now in values of £1.35 and £1.55.  Post Office staff have particular problems with working out the denomination of the Northern Ireland top value.

As previously announced we will not be stocking any 2019/M19L stamps.

Printing dates known so far:
Northern Ireland - 28/12/18
England and Wales - 02/01/19
Scotland 03/01/19

Machin printings, all printed on SBP2i, have been reported as:

£1.35 07/01/19
£1.60 07/01/19
£2.30 08/01/19
£2.80 09/01/19
£3.45 09/01/19
£3.60 09/01/19

Reports of other dates are welcomed!

The rate tables

From 25 March 2019

Letter 100g
Large Let 100g
S Parcel 1kg
S Parcel 2kg
Med Parcel 1kg
Special Delivery has increased from £6.50 to £6.60 (100g) and from £7.30 to £7.40 for 500g.   What we used to call the Signed For fee has increased at the basic level from £1.10 to £1.20 making a 1st class signed for letter £1.90 from £1.77, and a 2nd class £1.81 (from £1.68).  The extra for Large letters and Parcels range from £1 to £1.20.

World Zone 1&2
10g & cards
Large Letter prices will increase up to 250g and be lowered for items above 250g.

Prices for tracked services up to 1kg will increase while those over 1kg will be reduced.

The price of surface or economy letters rises by 10p to  £1.20 for 20g and by 5p to $1.50 for 21-100g. As with airmail, the prices for Large Letters are increased at the 100g and 250g steps but reduced for 500g & 750g.

The full tables are now available to download here.
have not yet been published for ordinary customers, only those for business customers.

Effect on collectors
The effect of this will be to increase further the cost of collecting stamps, not just the definitives but special issues as well.  The price of the April Birds of Prey set will rise from £6.70 to £7.00 with corresponding increases in the cost of first day covers and presentation packs.  Books of 6 x 1st class will increase from £4.02 to £4.20.

If readers look at your incoming business mail with postage paid using a franking machine, you will see that the prices they show are 
  • Prices for sending a 1st Class Letter through your franking machine with Royal Mail Mailmark technology will increase and start from 61p and a 2nd Class Letter will start from 41p.
  • Prices for sending a 1st Class Large Letter through your Royal Mail Mailmark franking machine will start from 95p and a 2nd Class Large Letter will start from 72p
For other business customers prices start at the rate shown, although the actual price will depend on volumes posted and only the largest mailers will benefit from these huge discounts.
  • Prices for barcoded Letters and Large Letters will start from 40p and 72p respectively.
  • Prices for non-barcoded Letters and Large Letters will start from 42.7p and 75p respectively. 

Small businesses, especially those using stamps for postage, will see their costs rise again especially for heavier international mail.  Bearing in mind the commission charged by card companies and PayPal, it will probably be necessary to increase postage and packing costs - in our case for the first time in many years.   And although many dealers have 'discount postage' and older NVI stock, there is a limit to how many 7-20p stamps we can put on a letter to take advantage of this!

Royal Mail in trouble with Ofcom
As has been widely reported, this price increase has been set a week too early, which makes one wonder what the senior management team at Royal Mail had in mind.  Did nobody think of the regulatory regime?

The BBC reported: 
Royal Mail has apologised after announcing a price rise which breaches a cap designed to make the postal service "affordable" for all consumers.
From 25 March, the price of a second-class stamp will rise by 3p to 61p - breaching Ofcom's current price cap of 60p which is in place until 1 April.
Royal Mail says it will donate the extra revenue, expected to be £60,000, to charity Action for Children.

Ofcom set the current price cap in 2012, when it allowed Royal Mail to increase the price of first and second-class stamps by 14p, following concerns the universal service was at "severe risk".   The cap was set at 55p and would increase in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, making the official cap 60.65p today.
Ofcom had announced the cap will increase to 65p from 1 April, and then will rise in line with the annual CPI rate of inflation until April 2024.
So a week later, and they could have legitimately increased the price to 65p, though that would have met with huge criticism from users.


  1. Also for collectors - for a Post and Go collector's strip it will be an increase of 48p to £8.66 by my reckoning

    1. Apologies, that should be an increase of 38p to £8.56 - I duplicated the Euro 10g and 20g from the list.

  2. You mention the need for a £1.55 stamp but we already have one. Maybe a new M19L version though ...

    1. Yes, you're right. More haste less speed. There will certainly be a new printing for 2019 but I don't expect a colour change.

  3. Do you think it likely there will be Regionals at £1.35 and £1.55?

    1. Hope so. They will probably be the last regionals issued with the Queen Elizabeth head so no collection would be complete without them. With Crown Offices closing all the time it means that they will be harder to get than ever. There is even a proposal for the philatelic office in Cambridge to move into WH Smith.

    2. Every year SOMEONE says that it is the last year of the reign of our present Queen - and yet her mother lived into her second century, and the Queen has access to the best medical treatment available - even if she needs it which she shows no sign of doing.

      Don't repeat it next year, it will be just as unlikely then!

  4. Royal Mail has issued an apology about the 61p 2nd class rate as it breaches an cap imposed by Ofcom not to increase the 2nd class rate beyond 60p before 1st April. See

    1. As the Royal Mail is contributing £60,000 to Action for Children being its estimate of the excess revenue for breaching the cap, is the 2nd class stamp the first Charity stamp for over 40 years? Slightly more seriously if 60p worth of postage is put on a second class letter posted between 25 and 31 March should the recipient have to pay an underpayment fee? After all we would not want to be complicit in RM's wrongdoing.

    2. A little generous to suggest that "Royal Mail is contributing £60,000 to Action for Children."

      Despite behaving with cavalier disregard for the price cap, RM will not be one single penny out of pocket; the contribution is being paid for by those customers who are suffering a quantifiable financial loss due to RM's misconduct.

      At the very least, one might have hoped for an augmented contribution, e.g. matched penny for penny from RM's own coffers.

  5. The PDF version for personal customers is available here

  6. Will there be a 9p stamp for difference between 2nd and 1st

    1. The difference has been 9p since 2014.
      Unless PO Ltd have asked for it, or there has been a massive change of direction in RM, I can't see that happening now.

  7. New machins- is there 4 new stamps? at £1.35,£1.60,£2.80 but will there also be a £2.30?

  8. The new rate for 1st-class small parcel 1kg should be £3.55 (instead of £3.50).

  9. This makes £26.70 for one complete set incl. country definitives (cylinder blocks anyone?). This is more than the £23.13 for the Marvel issue (if you omit the PB), and the Marvel issue contains quite a few 1st class stamps which one can actually use...
    So far, no one has complained about spending money on the definitives but there was an uproar about the Marvel issue. I don't think we need to argue which of these two releases may attract a new generation of stamp collectors.
    I rest my case.

  10. I have received my Order Advice Note for the new tariff stamps totalling £27.15. So £26.70 for the stamps plus 45p p&p. Still no sign of the 'Standard Signed For' NVC printed by Walsall, which the Royal Mail delayed a while ago. Has anyone heard anything please ?

    1. It's been mentioned in comments earlier; the 1st Signed For will be reprinted when it is needed.

  11. Could the notes at the bottom of pages 11 - 14 imply there could be further rate rises this year?

    1. My understanding, and Royal Mail are unable to confirm this yet, is that the current standard-rated prices for International Tracked to EU countries would become zero-rated as any other country.

      It doesn't affect any other letter rates. Parcelforce prices (page 7) already include 20% VAT and this is unlikely to change at it isn't part of the letter service.


Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.