Update on Royal Mail plans to axe six-day post deliveries as they 'must continue'

A poster featuring the slogans: "The future is parcels. The future is here", and "Failing parcels=Failing our customers" was sent to Business Committee Chair Darren Jones by a whistleblower
Deliveries could be cut -Credit:Steve Parsons/PA

Royal Mail's six-day delivery service must continue, a business minister has said, as the group proposes cuts. The postal service put forward proposals in April that would see a dramatic reduction in second-class letter deliveries.

Regulator Ofcom is currently consulting on the group's reforms which are not expected to impact first-class mail. In the Commons on Thursday, Kevin Hollinrake urged Royal Mail to abandon its plans to reduce the service. Conservative former minister David Mundell argued that a reduction in services would negatively affect elderly residents in rural areas.

The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP said: "Are ministers as concerned as I am about continued reports that Royal Mail are determined to move away from a six-day service? In a large rural constituency like mine, with an older population, people continue to rely on the Royal Mail for important communications. So can the minister make clear that this is not the direction of travel that the Government wants to see Royal Mail going?"

During business and trade questions, Mr Hollinrake replied: "We absolutely agree with his point. We have been very clear with Royal Mail, and indeed with Ofcom, the regulator, that we want to see a continued six-day service. And the Royal Mail, and hopefully Ofcom, will have heard what he's said today and what we have said today - the six-day service must continue."

Royal Mail has proposed that first class mail be kept as a six-days-a-week service but that second class letter deliveries be cut dramatically. The company is proposing that all non-first class letter deliveries – including second class and bulk business mail, such as bills and statements – be cut to every other weekday.

Royal Mail has long been urging the Government and Ofcom to review its obligations, arguing that it is no longer workable or cost-effective, given the decline in addressed letter post.

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: "Our proposal for the future Universal Service retains a six-day service for First Class letters. Furthermore, parcels would continue to be delivered up to seven days a week.

"The proposal is based on listening to thousands of people across the country to ensure it meets their needs. It is good for our customers, good for our people and would allow Royal Mail to invest in products and services that the UK wants."