Postman Pat, Postman Pat, Postman Pat is another FatCat

5 April 2011


Remember Postman Pat? There’s a knock, ring, letters through your doooor. Well, a few years ago Pat got a revamp for the 21st Century- in addition to now having a wife and son (called Julian - the son not the wife), Greendale now has some politically correct ethnic minority characters (Ajay the train driver and Sarah the vet) although somehow he has the same cat. Perhaps its stuffed.

Anyhow, while the vagaries of children’s television may or may not interest you, Greendale’s new ‘Special Delivery Service’ got me thinking- given that Pat delivers one parcel a day, and the SDS run a motorbike, truck and helicopter service (as well as his old van), how much must it cost to send one parcel Special Delivery in Greendale? £34,147?

And then it came to me. This must be one of those schemes where everyone pays over-the-odds for postage so that some rural village can get their postie to fly a parcel 2 and a half miles. A quick check of Royal Mail revealed that yes, we are.

Yesterday’s  record 5p rise in the cost of sending standard letters weighing up to 100g by first-class post, bringing the cost up to a massive 46p means we are a long, long way from the penny black. The cost of a second-class stamp has gone up 4p to 36p. A first-class, large letter stamp has risen by 9p to 75p, and by 7p to 58p for second-class mail. Even with inflation running higher than planned these days, these increases are excessive.

But it’s OK, there is a quango overseeing postal prices to make sure we’re not all shafted. Um. Regulator Postcomm gave its blessing permission for the increase in November, and the plans were announced by Royal Mail a month later. Quel surprise.

Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail Group, said that the decision had not been taken lightly.

"We have thought carefully about these increases as we are conscious of the difficult economic circumstances our customers are facing," she said. Thought carefully, but still decided to go ahead and sting us all anyway.

"With the sharp declines in mail volume, our revenues are falling. That means if we do not generate more income, we will simply not be able to keep funding our six-days-a-week collection, sorting, transport and delivery operation to the UK's 28 million homes and businesses."

Well, they say that, but surely every other business in the UK is facing similar issues? Why should Royal Mail consider themselves immune and put prices up by record levels? Oh yes, it’s because they have a monopoly.

After all, Royal Mail letters more than doubled its profit in 2010 to a not inconsiderable £121m.  Could they not shave a bit off their profit? Or perhaps we could ask their top paid executive, Adam Crozier, who (including share options) was paid over £2.4m in 2010-  or the three executive directors who together took home over £5.5m

I’m not buying the sob story. But I will be paying through the nose to post a letter. And I bet it won’t even be Pat delivering it.

TOPICS:   Economy


  • Tom
    To be honest 46p is still cheap to send a letter. What I do object to is them raising the prices to cover the gaping hole in their pension scheme. Customers shouldn't be forced to pay for Royal Mail's mis-management. If 1st class was 50p a go but we were back to the days of it actually arriving next day then that's a price worth paying.
  • Nick T.
    Revenues falling? Baloney. It's to fatten it up so more companies will bid for it, because so few have expressed any interest; it's easier and cheaper for them to extend their existing services (albeit not into door-to-door daily deliveries to residential users) than it is to buy the behemoth Royal Mail. A few years ago, the public were asked how much more they would pay for a better service. Surpriiiise!! Prices then went up to exactly that researched figure, without the improvement in service. Wankers. When a company is run by accountants the only thing they produce is a neat set of close-of-trading accounts. Fact.
  • Whisky
    I do a full days work, starting at 8.30 and finishing at 5. Getting home for 5.30 and I still beat the postman. Who is doing well to get there by 6. That is on the days we have a postman....
  • Pat
    Special Delivery Service is nothing to do with the Royal Mail. They stopped sponsoring the show, so they changed the company Pat works for. Also, while he still lives in Greendale, he actually works in Pencaster. I'm sorry. So very, very sorry. Mainly to myself.
  • maxtweenie
    @Tom, you're way off the mark there. The pension deficit was caused by Government giving Royal Mail a 13 year 'holiday' from company contributions (while we employees still paid in), then declaring the revenue that would have been paid into my pension as 'surplus profit' which the Government then took. The Government equivalent of a Robert Maxwell smash and grab.

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