Letters: Royal Mail seems to be ignorant of its own appalling standard of service

Earlier this year Royal Mail was fined £5.6m after failing to deliver more than a quarter of first-class post on time
Earlier this year Royal Mail was fined £5.6m after failing to deliver more than a quarter of first-class post on time - Stefan Rousseau/pa

SIR – Last Friday I received a flyer from Royal Mail (“Motorist swerves £1,000 speeding fine because Royal Mail failed to deliver it”, report, November 24), offering me a postal delivery service for NHS prescriptions. One wonders how well that would work, given that we now rarely get more than one or two deliveries a week.

Royal Mail’s lack of self-awareness concerning its current level of service is mind-boggling.

Chris Pilkington
Weymouth, Dorset

SIR – I read Royal Mail’s advertisement (Letters, November 24) in total disbelief: “Keep it special. Send a card”. 
Royal Mail services have become unreliable and slow, and its charges have risen significantly. 

While it is clearly out of touch with its customer base, surely it realises that the cost of stamps is the single reason why almost everyone I know is sending as few Christmas cards as possible this year. Some have stopped altogether. We would send cards if we could afford the stamps and had faith that they would be delivered within a day or two of posting.

Shirley Elomari

SIR – Only an organisation as tone-deaf as Royal Mail could dare to publish an advertisement urging us to send Christmas cards, given the price increases it has imposed on us. 

The irony of its advertisement obviously escapes it. May I suggest a discounted stamp for Christmas cards? That just might encourage people to start sending them again.

Tim Lovett
Claygate, Surrey

SIR – My husband’s birthday was on November 12. The next day, our lovely post lady most apologetically delivered a stack of cards for him, and a considerable number for me (my own birthday was on November 1). Many bore a first-class stamp. According to her (and she has more than 20 years’ experience), the problem is that Royal Mail is short-staffed and should be recruiting and training more people – but is not.

Royal Mail’s website states that its first-class service “aims to deliver the next working day, including Saturdays”. Is it not selling first-class stamps under false pretences, knowing it is unable to meet that claim?

Susan Fleck
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

SIR – Kris Bartlett (Letters, November 25) posted a letter first class to Oxford, 10 miles from his home, which took six weeks to arrive. I can do better. 

I received a Christmas card five weeks ago and was impressed at the efficiency of the sender, who lives one mile away from me. When I checked the envelope, which had a first-class stamp attached, I saw it had been posted in December 2022.

Karen Mullan
Hove, East Sussex

Covid charade

SIR – Camilla Tominey has rightly shone a light on the charade that is the Covid inquiry (Comment, November 25).

Not only does the prurient relish with which details of politicians’ tawdry behaviour have been pored over suggest that the legal cast have wandered in from the set of No Sex Please, We’re British, but the central premise is apparently that lockdown was a good thing and our leaders generally a bunch of duffers.

There is also, as Ms Tominey points out, a risk of the inquiry being hijacked by activists using Covid deaths as a battering ram, when these and deaths from lockdown are equally important. 

I write as one whose father was in a care home for 18 months and deteriorated with shocking rapidity as a result of draconian and inhumane regulations that ultimately served little purpose. He and thousands of elderly and vulnerable people did not “go gentle into that good night”, because they were betrayed by mediocrities who were obsessed with the optics and failed utterly to undertake any kind of cost-benefit analysis. 

Families traumatised by their appalling failure will punish these pantomime politicians at the ballot box.

Dr Catherine Moloney

Pothole repair failure

SIR – Having worked for county councils, I fully endorse Ken Mitchell’s letter (November 25) on potholes, particularly his praise for “patching gangs”. The demise of the county and divisional surveyors, who were devoted to the maintenance of roads, was, in my view, the beginning of the pothole problem, which also coincided with the vast increase in road traffic.

In those days, patching was considered a permanent repair, prior to preventative maintenance, such as surface dressing. Today I see short-term patch-and-dash repairs done without any sealing to the edges, allowing the ingress of water and premature failure.

Stephen Bridgwater

Nissan drawback

SIR – News that Nissan will continue to build cars in the UK is welcome (report, November 25). I bought my Qashqai because it was built here. 

However, why can’t Nissan have faith enough in the product to give it a seven-year warranty, like Kia, rather than the derisory three years it currently offers? This fact alone means I am yet to decide on my next car, when it should be a given.

Paul Spencer
Thame, Oxfordshire 

Shedding an accent

SIR – I can empathise with Sophie Pender and her experiences that led her to champion the “old boys old news” campaign (“The City lawyer battling the old boys’ network”, Business, November 22).

I was reared in Northern Ireland and went to Cambridge to do my degree. In April 1965, I had an interview to join a law firm in London where the senior partner was a friend of my mother’s. The interview was brief, the tone being set by his saying to me: “If you want to come to work with us, you will have to get rid of that ghastly Belfast accent.”

Five hours later, I arrived at Belfast airport to be met by my mother. After a couple of minutes she turned to me and commented on my “horrible English accent”.

David Denton

Bankless towns

SIR – You report (November 24) that cost-cutting at Barclays will not affect its customer-facing branch staff. That is because it has already closed so many of its high-street branches. 

Here in North Yorkshire, the market towns of Bedale and Leyburn have no bank. These are towns with lots of small businesses and senior citizens, and the bank branches were heavily used by the population.

Now we have to go to Richmond or Northallerton, which are both 10 miles away. I was there last week and queued for 25 minutes. Other people left in disgust. There was a chart in the branch rating performance of banks for business and private clients. Barclays was bottom.

Bridget Garvin
Garriston, North Yorkshire

Telegraph’s voice

SIR – I have been reading The Daily Telegraph since 1978. It will be nothing short of devastating if any new ownership changes the nature and freedom of the way the newspaper has always reported on events at home and across the world. 

Charles Moore is right to voice his concerns about the possible buyers (“It would be unforgivable to allow Abu Dhabi to nationalise the Telegraph and Spectator”, Comment, November 25). We cannot let the Telegraph become a restricted voice, influenced by owners who do not share our values on freedom of speech. 

Christopher Hunt
Swanley, Kent

Dropping DAB radios

SIR – It is disappointing that popular stations such as Classic FM are to abandon DAB radios in favour of DAB+ technology (report, November 25). Replacing my two old but perfectly good DAB devices with DAB+ models will cost in the region of £300. 

Set against the continuing squeeze on household budgets and the drive to reuse and recycle in the interests of sustainability, ceasing a DAB service seems like an ill-conceived decision. 

I will be voting with my dial in the New Year: Radio 3, here I come.

Dr Tim Brooks
London E11

Pumped-up prices

SIR – I filled up my car in Shropshire at 143.9p. On the M25 petrol costs 179.9p. How can this be allowed?

Peers M S Carter
Southfleet, Kent

The ingenuity of Doctor Who’s costume makers

A ‘Zarbi’, from the Doctor Who episode ‘The Web Planet’, which aired in 1965
A ‘Zarbi’, from the Doctor Who episode ‘The Web Planet’, which aired in 1965 - alamy

SIR – I was interested to read about the 10 worst Doctor Who episodes (Culture, telegraph.co.uk, November 22). As a young child, I watched the programme from the first episode, and my imagination was captivated by the stories. I did not notice the creaky sets and costumes (although my parents might have done). Perhaps, too, the production was not so out of place when compared with other programmes at the time, such as Muffin the Mule and The Woodentops.

I particularly remember “The Web Planet”, and was later very impressed to discover that my new maths teacher had appeared in it. I was fascinated to hear about the ingenuity of the costume makers. For example, the insects’ multi-faceted eyes were plastic tea strainers.

Many years later, on discovering that the BBC had found the episode and released it on DVD, I purchased a copy, and experienced a curious moment when I heard one of the creatures speak unmistakably with my teacher’s voice. 

Jonathan Mann
Gunnislake, Cornwall

Reasons to regret the decline of the rough collie

SIR – I was sad to read of the decline of the rough collie (“Ten dogs on the brink of extinction – and what their demise says about us”, Features, November 24). 

The Kennel Club quotation totally undersells this marvellous breed. Yes, they need a bit of brushing, but otherwise they are very low-maintenance. 

They don’t need excessive exercise (in contrast, say, to a border collie). They are intelligent, full of character, deeply affectionate and wonderful companions. 

I cannot recommend them highly enough to potential dog owners.

Andrew Dalgarno
Westhill, Aberdeenshire

SIR – As the proud owner of one of the few Irish red and white setters in the UK, I was saddened to read that this lovely breed achieved the unwanted accolade of being the most endangered in the country. They have delightful personalities: they are overflowing with joy, yet are also quiet, gentle family dogs. 

However, I can’t understand why a high price tag is given as one reason why they are not more popular, when they are the cheapest (by half in many cases) of all the breeds featured, and cost much less than the myriad currently popular designer crossbreeds.

Jan Bardey
Kineton, Warwickshire

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