As Europe’s postal services develop, Britain and Germany are now outliers as Europe’s postal services evolve
France will begin three-day-a-week delivery of letters from next year. This comes as ministers in Britain resist the pleas from Royal Mail to axe Saturday postal rounds.
French bosses claim that the major overhaul will help reduce La Poste’s carbon footprint. Letters will be delivered in three days.
Customers must email La Poste the text. La Poste will print the letter at a branch and then pass it on to a postal worker to receive next-day delivery.
The UK, along with Germany, is now an exception in Europe. It continues to use a six-day-a-week letters service. Olaf Scholz, the successor to Angela Merkel’s German plans to cut to a five-day-a-week service has stalled.
Ministers are resisting Royal Mail’s request to reduce its five-day-a-week mail service to just five days. Saturday deliveries are a legal requirement for the FTSE 250 company. Any changes must be approved by Parliament.
Grant Shapps, Business Secretary, refuses to accept the changes. This has led to a standoff with Keith Williams, Royal Mail chairman.
British Airways’ former chief executive, Mr Williams, stated that first-class stamps will need to increase “considerably” in order to pay for Royal Mail delivery on Saturday.
He stated that “the cost to us is driven in large part by [the] decline in the volume of letters. It’s delivering the same amount of letters in six days when it could take you five. This is driving up stamp prices.
The equivalent of the UK’s “universal Service Obligation” – regulations that require Royal Mail to deliver six days a week – other countries have modified the law to reduce the number of letters sent.
It has changed to an everyday service for rural areas in Italy, Norway operates two rounds per week, and Denmark delivers standard class letters only once a week.
Royal Mail estimates it can save between £125m-£225m by eliminating Saturday mail deliveries. It also says that consumers’ needs will not be affected.
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