Royal Mail may end Saturday letter deliveries but start seven-day parcel drops

Royal Mail may try to stop delivering letters on Saturdays but provide a seven-day parcel service, it emerged today.

The postal service delivered 1.1billion fewer letters year-on-year, while parcel deliveries continue to surge due to the rise in online shopping.

Ofcom, the postal regulator, is carrying out a review into what customers need from the service.

Bosses at Royal Mail have hinted they could ask Ofcom to drop the Saturday letter service which may no longer be considered a core service, the Guardian reported.

But there is still demand for an affordable next-day letters service, which is particularly important for businesses “during the working week”.

The group is also reportedly looking into providing a seven-day parcel service to deal with the increase in demand.

Figures show it delivered 177million more parcels in the five months to August – a 34% year-on-year rise.

Keith Williams, the group’s interim executive chairman, told staff: “These findings tell us the best way to ensure the 'universal service' continues to meet our customers' needs is to rebalance our service model more towards the growing parcels market, particularly urgent parcels, and urgent letters.

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"But to be clear, this does not mean following other countries such as New Zealand or Italy that have reduced letters delivery to three days a week in some areas, for example.

"We will keep delivering letters to every part of the UK, for one price. And we would like to deliver the items that customers want more often, not less."

Royal Mail has a five-year plan to move towards becoming a parcels business, which has been opposed by unions.

It is currently required to deliver to every UK address at a standard price, six days a week, under its universal service.

The postal service revealed in June it plans to cut 2,000 management jobs by next March.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “The best way to ensure the universal service continues to meet our customers’ needs is to rebalance our service model more towards the growing parcels market, particularly urgent parcels and urgent letters.

"We are currently exploring what a rebalanced universal service might look like.

"Any substantive change is a matter for the regulator, government and ultimately Parliament.”

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