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The price of a first class stamp has risen by 10p to 95p from Monday. Second class stamps increased by 2p to 68p.

The Royal Mail said there had been a long-term decline in the use of letters, associated with a rise in inflation.

Letter volumes have fallen more than 60% since their peak in 2004-2005 and about 20% since the start of the pandemic.

Nick Landon, Commercial Director of Royal Mail, said: “We understand that many businesses and households are struggling in the current economic environment, and we will always keep our prices as affordable as possible.

“We need to carefully balance our prices against falling letter volumes and rising delivery costs to an increasing number of addresses six days a week.

“As customer needs evolve and we see a greater shift from letters to parcels, it is vital that universal service adapts to remain relevant and sustainable.

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“These price changes are necessary to ensure that we can continue to maintain and invest in universal one-price service everywhere for future generations.”

Unite’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said: ‘Royal Mail’s Boardroom are again raising prices while helping themselves to massive profits. He behaves like a greedy short-term speculator rather than the responsible owner of a key UK utility.

“With plans to cut 900 postal manager jobs and threats to Unite that our members’ collective agreements will be ignored, the owners of Royal Mail are ruining this essential service. Ofgem needs to pull itself together as the Universal Service Obligation is under serious threat.

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