Snail Mail - but fast rise in prices

The rise in stamp prices will take effect from the 30th April Photo: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

It might be known as snail mail nowadays - but its prices have moved fast. First-class from 46p to 60p, second-class from 36p to 50p.

The increases, vastly greater than inflation, will hit businesses and households from the end of April. It's a 30 percent rise for first-class and 39 percent for second-class stamps.

Six years ago, 84 million letters a day were posted. Today, it is down to 59 million.

The problem is that since 2006, there has been a 25 percent decline in postal volumes as emails become the main form of communication.

The industry's regulator, Ofcom, says that without the price increases the financial viability of the service is at "severe risk".

The bigger story here is that this comes just minutes after Ofcom announced that Royal Mail can now SET ITS OWN PRICE for first-class stamps, removing any price caps (second-class stamps will stay controlled, but will be allowed to rise as high as 55p plus inflation within seven years).

Royal Mail delivered 16 billion letters to around 28 million addresses last year - but it's a sign of the times that all the communication I get from their press via email.

More on this story