Royal Mail Postpones Price Increase

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Royal Mail said last week that it postponed plans to raise the price of First- and Second-Class stamps by 1 pence next month because of a decision by the regulator Postcomm to extend the consultation period for price control.

Royal Mail, the British post office, said last month that it would raise the cost of stamps by a pence in mid-April subject to approval from Postcomm, the postal industry's regulator. Subject to Postcomm's agreement, the price of a First-Class stamp for items weighing up to 60 grams would rise from 27p to 28p and Second-Class from 19p to 20p.

Royal Mail first applied to raise the cost of stamps 10 months ago, but was denied by Postcomm. Royal Mail said the extra penny would bring in about 15 million pounds a month, which would help tackle losses running at 1.1 million pounds a day.

Postcomm delayed the deadline for the consultation period on price controls to March 21, so Royal Mail directors said they were deferring the increase.

"We want to give our customers as much notice as possible of any change and as much clarity as we can to help them plan," Royal Mail managing director Jerry Cope said. "This consultation involves others as well as Royal Mail, and the regulator's announcement of a longer consultation period means that there cannot be any certainty until at least March 21."

Royal Mail said May 8 is now the earliest date that any price increase could proceed. But Cope said there could be no definite announcement to customers at this stage.

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