11-time Paralympic Gold medallist Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Stamp honour for Paralympic winners

Every British athlete who wins gold at the London 2012 Paralympics will appear on a celebratory stamp, Royal Mail announced today.

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Stamps to mark anniversary of Royal Yacht Britannia

Royal Mail of commemorative stamps that are being issued to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of Royal Yacht Britanni Credit: Royal Mail/PA Wire

Commemorative stamps are being issued to mark the 60th anniversary of the launch of Royal Yacht Britannia.

The book of 10 Royal Mail first-class stamps feature images of the yacht being launched by the Queen in 1953, the apartments inside the boat and its final overseas trip to Hong Kong in 1997.

During its 44 years serving the Royal Family, the boat went on 968 official voyages around the world and is said to have travelled at least a million miles.

The yacht's barge led around a thousand boats for the Thames Jubilee pageant last June, carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Built by workers at the John Brown shipyard in Clydebank, near Glasgow, Royal Yacht Britannia was launched on the Clyde on April 16, 1953.

It is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh, hosting around 300,000 visitors a year.

The stamps are on sale from Tuesday, exactly 60 years since the Clyde launch.

Stamps honour space exploration

A set of new stamps celebrating Britain's contribution to space exploration is being issued by the Royal Mail.

A composite of Royal Mail's new Space Science stamps Credit: Royal Mail/PA Wire
The stamps celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the launch of Ariel 1, Britain's first satellite Credit: Royal Mail/PA Wire

The six stamps, which go on sale next week, mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of Ariel 1, Britain's first satellite.

Dr Stuart Clark, astronomer and author of The Sun Kings with the new stamps Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

Images on the stamps include the cavernous craters of Mars, the rings of Saturn and the burning intensity of the Sun.

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Royal Mail: price rises are to 'secure the future' of our business

A Royal Mail spokesman explained the rise in stamp rises:

Raising prices is never easy. It is not a decision we have taken lightly but regretfully we have had no choice but to do so. We have thought very carefully about the impact on our customers and on our own business.

We need to secure the future of the universal service.

Ofcom (the postal regulator) has said there is a real risk to the universal service. They also found price controls failed and there is a need for material increases to ensure its viability.

Royal Mail has made a loss in its core mail business, including packets, of almost £1 billion over the last four financial years. That is not a sustainable position for any business.

Stamps 'still among cheapest in Europe'

The cost of first and second class stamps will rise by 14p tomorrow. Credit: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Royal Mail has defended stamp increases coming into force today, pointing out that the new 50p second class rate will still be the lowest in Europe.

The price is rising from 36p, while first class stamps will increase from 46p to 60p, which will be in the bottom half of most prices in other European countries.

Chief executive Moya Greene said the new prices were "incredible value for money", with first class stamps around half the cost of posting letters in France and Germany.

NFSP: Stamp price increases 'necessary'

The stampprice increases are unfortunately necessary to protect the universal postalservice. The rise has led to a spike in demand for stamps and the NFSP (National Federation of Subpostmasters) isworking with Post Office Ltd to ensure that subpostmasters continue to receivea full supply. As far as we are aware, there are currently no significant stampsupply problems at post offices.

– George Thomson, General Secretary of the NFSP
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