Friday 3 March 2023

Big Price Rises from 4 April will recoup money lost hrough strikes, but only if people use the service.

Word has reached us of prices rises effective 4 April, 2023, although these have not yet been confirmed by Royal Mail.

UPDATE: Prices are now confirmed and stamp rate card can be downloaded here.

The 1st class inland letter rate is expected to rise from 95p to £1.10

The 2nd class rate is expected to rise from 68p to 75p.








Large Letter – 100g





- 250g





- 500g





- 750g





Small Parcel 2kg





Medium Parcel 2kg





- 10kg





- 20kg





There are no increases in 1pm Special Delivery rates.

As before, there is no single premium for Signed For. It's £1.50 for 1st class Letters and Large Letters and £1.20 for parcels.  

Cost of Post Office Boxes increases by 10% from £300 to £330 pa.


The major change is that there is now only one price for letters worldwide, £2.20.  This means that there is no Worldwide 20g rate (previously £1.85), but the Worldwide 100g rate is reduced from £2.55.

Postcards will also be £2.20 - bad luck for Postcrossers.

The 100g rates for Large Letters in Europe and Rest of the World remain unchanged at £3.25 and £4.20 respectively, but rates for over 100g increase by around 16% Europe and 11.5% Rest of the World.

Lowest rates for Europe Small Parcels will increase by around 30%: given that some of this must be for the profit-making GLS wing of International Distribution Services this seems extreme. There are lower (12-16%) increases for heaver parcels.

Increases for lightest Worldwide Parcels to Zone 1 are up to 39% but to Zone 2 only 21%; increases for heavier parcels are only 6%.


From 3 April 2023, the price of a First Class stamp will increase by 15p to £1.10p, and the price of a Second Class stamp will increase by 7p to 75p to ensure the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service remains sustainable.

These changes have been subject to careful consideration by Royal Mail in light of the 25% drop in letter volumes since the pandemic, increasing costs and the highest inflation rates for a generation.

Royal Mail’s First Class stamp prices remain competitive compared to other major European postal operators. Across Europe, the median price for the equivalent of a First Class letter service (0-100g) is £1.25p.

Royal Mail remains committed to the Universal Service, providing the one-price-goes-anywhere service to approximately 31 million addresses across the UK. However, as customer behaviours change, and the number of UK addresses continues to grow, the costs of delivering the Universal Service are increasing. Letter volumes have decreased from more than 20 billion letters a year in 2004/5, to approximately eight billion letters per year now, while the number of addresses has risen by four million in the same period. 

Royal Mail is currently expected to report an adjusted operating loss of £350 million to £450 million for the full year. In light of changing consumer needs, and the company’s materially loss-making position, last year Royal Mail requested that the Government amends the Universal Service Obligation from six days a week to five for letters.

Ofcom’s research shows that a five day letter service (Monday to Friday) would meet the needs of 97% of consumers and SMEs. Being required to provide a service that consumers have said they no longer need, at significant structural cost to Royal Mail, increases the threat to the sustainability of the Universal Service.

Despite this Ofcom refused to allow Royal Mail to cut delivery to 5 days a week.


  1. In the early hours of this morning the RM shop had the King Charles III stamps on the front page but if you clicked on it there were no details. Not for the first time it looks like they jumped the gun. Had the details been there it would no doubt have confirmed the new prices. The front page had gone by 8.30am.

    I note some of the parcel prices have come down.

  2. The FIRST leaflet gives the total price for the NVI set as £4.60 which appears to confirm the price rise.

  3. Those figures would tie in with the price of the stamp set published in First, today. The set is priced at £4.60 for the four stamps.

  4. It's interesting that the whole range wasn't released. I was expecting the make-up and high value stamps to be included in the release. The Succession Mint Stamps Sheets Folder was pricey, but decided to go for it. Not sure if they are specifically made sheets of 25 stamps as normally they are sheets of 50 (2 x 25) - of course they may just rip a sheet of 50 in half and seal up the side that is dated.

  5. Set of singles and booklet now on Royal Mail site (in special stamp issues) which confirms the prices along with a new £2-20 Charles definitive stamp. Full/half sheets and business sheets not yet available on the website.

    1. Strange their is no mention of the £2.20 stamp in the 'First', yet the RM website shows a separate FDC and Presentation Pack to be issued on 04/04/23

  6. I gave up smoking when it reached a pound a pack more 1st class post for me

  7. More subsidies from monopoly letters business to parcels that already have an advantage with no VAT and more diversion of profits to the division of choice GLS . I call a crook a crook and proper regulator investigation needs to done !

    1. How do they divert Royal Mail profits (what profits) to GLS?

    2. International Distribution Services owns Royal Mail and GLS, which is the international parcels division.
      If the new international parcels rates include an element paid to GLS for handling those parcels outside the UK, it would increase GLS income/profit and reduce Royal Mail's (increases outgoings from RM).
      It's a bit like multinational IT companies making management charges to wings in other countries to increase costs, reduce profits, and avoid UK Tax - you don't need me to provide examples.

  8. Looking at the international services only the £2.20 stamp is listed on RM's website. I think this probably means that they're continuing to use the barcode Machins until they run out, so the other values (£3.25 and £4.40) will come later in the year.

    This seems to be the case according to this from the £2.20 stamp page
    "Following confirmation of the new international tariff for letters in 2023, only the new £2.20 rated stamps will be printed. To minimise environmental impact and cost, existing stock of the retained rates £3.25 and £4.20 with the late Queen’s effigy will continue to circulate and be valid for postage."

    1. Have they really got enough existing stocks of the £3.25 and £4.20 stamps, or for those values will it just be Horizon labels which easily fit on Large letters ?

    2. And the "existing stock" of Machins could still be used up after a sheet each of £2.20, £3.25 and £4.20 was supplied to every Post Office for collectors on 4th April.

    3. I don't believe "To minimise environmental impact and cost, existing stock of the retained rates £3.25 and £4.20 with the late Queen’s effigy will continue to circulate and be valid for postage" as there's no more reason for that to happen with those two values than for any other. I think such values will be discontinued and replaced by Horizon labels which will easily fit on those Large Letters to abroad.
      If "minimise environmental impact" was of any consequence to Royal Mail they wouldn't have given "free" an extra 80g ( 20g to 100g ) on Letters to most of the World all of which will be carried by environmentally unfriendly aeroplanes.

    4. The King has said we should use up the old ones first. I think they may be short of some NVIs which is why they are issuing them now - and they would have needed to issue something before the Coronation stamps.

      But expect post offices especially to continue to use Machins in all formats, and any supermarket or other chain, which has booklets stacked in their central stores awaiting a 15p price irse.

    5. The King would say that, wouldn't he !
      Yes, "may be short of some NVIs" but surely they've continued to print Machins over the past six months and could for the next three if they wanted to.

  9. Bad luck for post-crossers indeed. I think the postcard rate was 70p when I started the hobby in 2012. Now it is more than three times that. I've already had to cut back now I'm retired. Maybe time for a new interest?

    1. It was 50p/56p when I started in 2008. Gone are also the days the lovely Constanze (a philatelist) can fit domestic postcard postage all in 2p stamps!

  10. With the effective withdrawal of the Euro 100g/ Worldwide 20g stamp will collector strips remain as a strip of 6 stamps.
    One possibility is they use a UK Large up to 250g rate as a replacement value.
    Seems the £2.20 stamp on display at the Postal Museum was not just a test sheet after all

  11. Well, at least the airmail rate will be again 2 x 1st class and no faffing around with the oversized datamatrixed things that would not leave a lot of room on a postcard to write a message.

    What does an almost 100g not-large letter look like? I guess I'll be buying/using more C5-ish sized envelopes....

    Thinking about the SITHOP that have been sent in for exchange... what if all those 2nd class stamps then get used!

    1. "What does an almost 100g not-large letter look like?"
      A5 sized and nearly a quarter inch thick. My wife often gets little catalogues like that from businesses trying to sell her things.

  12. I'd guess that the increase isn't so much to recoup the cost of the strikes, but to pay for the salary increases to end the strikes.

    When that Charles III image first appeared, I was a bit horrified ... but honestly, it's growing on me. Not sure if others feel the same.

    1. Yes, "isn't so much to recoup the cost of the strikes" as they saved a lot in wages during the strikes. More likely so that their shareholders get paid decent dividends.

  13. I had expected all of the rates to be multiples of 5p, eliminating any need for 1p and 2p stamps, yet the parcel prices end in 9p.
    The basic parcel rate of £3.49 will need SIX 'make up' stamps ( no less with NVIs ). in the 1980s it was just ONE stamp from £1.30 increasing annually to £1.60.

    1. They don't expect you to weigh parcels at home and stamp them; they expect that labels will be used.

    2. Yes indeed.
      It's very doubtful if there's any purpose now for the 'make up' values which my local Post Office hasn't stocked for years.
      I've seen Horizon labels used as such - e.g. from next month a 19p label on a Small Parcel taken to a Post Office with three First NVIs on.

    3. I think we've reached the point now where everything *could* easily be in multiples of 5p. Round it up to the nearest 5p and be done with it. This would remove the need for 1p and 2p stamps which are basically confetti at today's prices. I think having amounts like 3.49 is along the same lines as "your parcel will be delivered between 11.26 and 12.26". It might as well be 3.50 and your parcel delivery time will be 11.30 to 12.30. The 3.49 thing also smacks of the shady "only 4.99" marketing technique to make you not think you are spending a fiver on something.
      However, if not, then the range of available stamps could really do with all values from 1p to 5p inclusive available as make up values, and ideally an 8p. We shouldnt have to put three make up values on something using such large stamps and the introduction of a 3p, 4p and 8p would reduce this to two in most cases. A step towards this could be even numbers only, thus removing the need for a 1p stamp.

    4. I think most retailers have abandoned "only 4.99" knowing customers are no longer conned by it.
      I could argue that not only 1p and 2p but also 5p stamps could be discontinued as pricing in multiples of 10p would give enough flexibility. With decimalisation in February 1971 a basic Second Class stamp cost 2½p and I don't remember that as only five times the smallest coin being a problem. Nowadays 75p is 7½ times the 10p unit I suggest, half as much again of a multiple as the situation of 52 years ago.

    5. The 99p thing is not about creating a perception of goods being cheaper. Retailers want staff to ‘ring up the till’ and place the money in it and give 1p change. Rounding up can enable unscrupulous employees to trouser money as buyers pay and then walk away.

  14. RM's press release tells us that "the price of a First Class stamp will increase by 15p to £1.10p, and the price of a Second Class stamp will increase by 7p to 75p to ensure the one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service remains sustainable" but look on Royal Mail Chat - and they should know and the concensus is "So even less letters will now be posted, putting the price of stamps up will not help keep the u.s.o it will only help in its decline".

    1. I'm still going to write & send letters, and send only a few Postcrossing postcards now and again (World Postcard Day, for example). For me, snail mail is a long term hobby, so have somewhat accumulated postage stamps to use...

      But yes, the postage rise isn't going to encourage people to take up letter writing & sending of cards, such as birthday cards, or even sympathy cards (a text message saying something like, "sorry your mum died" doesn't quite cut it). Although last month, February, was the month of two letter writing projects - A Month of Letters, and International Correspondence Writing Month, and some people decided to start writing letters through either/both projects.

  15. Since last April for the basic 2kg Small Parcel, of which I've sent seventeen at £3.35, First Class has been one third (33%) dearer than Second Class but from next month it will be only one fifth (20%) dearer. If the differential is further reduced next year I shall suspect that RM are moving towards a single Class for parcels, somewhat similar to their further simplification of the International Standard rates.

  16. Was the person that did joined-up thinking at Royal Mail off sick, when it was decided to put the price of postage up on the Monday (3rd April), but not to put the new stamps on sale until the following day?

    It's all very well that (on this occasion) the only impacted value is the new £2.20 stamp, but it does seem very amateurish. How much more sensible if - as was historically the case - new stamps were available BEFORE an increased tariff was introduced.

    1. It's rather odd. But with £2.20 now being simply two NVI 1st stamps, I don't think anyone would be inconvenienced. I expect a lot will always just use 2 - even before the increase.

  17. As a 'Postcrosser' I will stock up on 1st Class commemoratives before the price increase to use two for sending postcards and letters overseas....Are these huge price increases are part of a plan to finish off letter mail completely so that Royal Mail can just concentrate on their parcel business?

  18. Surely prolonged strike action is exactly what Royal Mail wants - or needs - being able to save wages, and the concomitant build-up of mail meaning that processing volumes when workers return to their posts are closer to what might be profitable for the company. (Perhaps this is part of a cunning plan.)

  19. Yes indeed, and though I didn't question it at the time I doubted the "recoup money lost through strikes" in the title above.

  20. £2.20 Worldwide Letter Rate
    I’m floating this thought out there that there may be the unintended consequence, of the new £2.20 worldwide letter rate, on the use of airmail paper and envelopes. I always used these products to write longer letters that were below the old 20g rate (as they are lighter weight) but from 04/04/23 I can use normal 80gsm paper or thicker and still be under 100g. Just a thought! I will however continue to use airmail envelopes as I like look of them with their red/white/blue border and no airmail sticker needed. Cheers

  21. I don't think it's been mentioned here that there is also an International Economy rate of £2.00 for letters up to 100g - for outside Europe only.


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