The postal service announced that the price of a first-class stamp will rise from 46 pence to 60 pence next month. Second-class stamps will rise from 36 pence to 50 pence.
The rises follow the decision by Ofcom, the postal regulator, to remove the cap on what Royal Mail can charge for first-class stamps. The price of second-class stamps will still be regulated.
Ofcom said that Royal Mail has been given the power to set its own first-class stamp prices to make it more commercial and“safeguard” the universal postal service.
Moya Greene, the chief executive of Royal Mail, said she would have “avoided” raising prices if she could have. However she said that the postal service in the UK has been in “peril” for a number of yearsShe refused to speculate on any future price rises.
Asked if £1 was too much for a first-class stamp, she said: “I am not going to say what is or what is not too much. Circumstances change. I don't need to charge £1 now."
She added: "If you look at the price of a single trip on a bus, or a chocolate bar, or the price of a newspaper we are clearly affordable."
She added that there is not an “affordability issue” with stamps because the average household spends 50 pence a week on stamps. This compares with £10.50 on telecoms and internet, she said.