Fears are growing over the future of second-class Royal Mail deliveries

  • Royal Mail has already urged regulators to halve second-tier services



Fears are growing over the future of second-class Royal Mail deliveries amid a proposed £3.5 billion takeover of the postal service.

Royal Mail said last week it “intends” to accept a bid from billionaire Daniel Kretinsky for the 508-year-old organisation.

But campaigners are concerned about comments suggesting the ‘Czech Sphinx’ would welcome proposed reforms to reduce second-class supplies.

Mr Krenitsky is keen to commit to “the continuation of six-day delivery of First Class letters”, Royal Mail’s parent company International Distributions Services (IDS) said last week.

Royal Mail said last week it ‘intends’ to accept a bid from billionaire Daniel Kretinsky (pictured)
Under its current owners, Royal Mail has already urged regulators to halve its second-tier service from six-day deliveries to every other weekday (stock image)

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It says the bidder has pledged to maintain ‘key elements’ of Royal Mail’s proposed reforms ‘for a financially sustainable universal service into the future’ – including a one-price-goes-anywhere service across the UK.

But this has reignited concerns about what could happen to second-rate deliveries.

Under its current owners, Royal Mail has already urged regulators to halve its second-tier service from six-day deliveries to every other weekday.

The boss has said this would give the country a ‘fighting chance’ to raise standards and save £300m. But it could also lead to the loss of almost 1,000 jobs.

Dennis Reed of Silver Voices, a campaign group for older people, said that because deliveries were already so unreliable across the country, relaxing the obligations would only make matters worse.

‘When they say the second lesson will be three times a week, in reality it will only be once a week.

‘We are extremely skeptical of any promises from the regulator, Royal Mail or potential buyers.’

Elderly people across the country rely on the service for hospital appointments and utility bills, especially in remote communities, Mr Reed added.

Small businesses have also said they are also concerned about the affordability of future services.

Last month the cost of a first-class standard letter rose by 8 percent to £1.35, while a second-class stamp now costs 85p – the same price as a first-class stamp in early 2022.

Mr. Krenitsky is committed to “the continuation of six-day delivery of first-class letters” (stock image)
Business Minister Kemi Badenoch plans to meet Mr Krenitsky, a major shareholder in West Ham United and Sainsbury’s

Regulator Ofcom is currently investigating how the struggling postal service’s obligations could be reformed, which could allow it to offer a less frequent service.

Currently, it is legally required to deliver letters six days a week, Monday to Saturday, and parcels Monday to Friday.

Ofcom has said it will provide an update on the reforms this summer.

Business Minister Kemi Badenoch plans to meet soon with Krenitsky, a major shareholder of West Ham United and Sainsbury’s, to discuss the takeover.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business and Trade said: ‘As we have made clear, we have no current plans to change the universal service obligation and any future changes to Royal Mail’s operations will need to take into account the impact on businesses and vulnerable consumers who rely on this crucial service.

‘Ofcom will publish an update on its call for input in the summer and we will consider any advice before responding.’

If the deal goes through, it will be the first time the service has fallen into foreign hands since it was founded by Henry VIII in 1516.

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