Saturday post could be scrapped as Ofcom paves way for Royal Mail to abolish six-days-a-week service

20 January 2024, 20:11

Saturday deliveries could be scrapped by Royal Mail as Ofcom draws up plans to reform the postal service's obligations to deliver six days a week
Saturday deliveries could be scrapped by Royal Mail as Ofcom draws up plans to reform the postal service's obligations to deliver six days a week. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Saturday deliveries could be scrapped by Royal Mail as Ofcom draws up plans to reform the postal service's obligations to deliver six days a week.

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Ofcom, the UK regulator for broadcasting and postal industries, will this week publish documents outlining how Royal Mail may need updating and "evolve to more closely meet consumer needs".

The regulator said it would not yet comment on the proposals for the service's revamp, but it is expected to include the abolition of Saturday deliveries, Sky News reported.

The UK's postal service has racked up a loss of more than £300 million for the first half of the financial year, despite recently hailing the best Christmas for four years.

Chief Executive Martin Seidenberg recently warned the network was "not sustainable", adding to calls for urgent reform over past years.

File photo dated 21/05/13 of a general view of Royal Mail vans
File photo dated 21/05/13 of a general view of Royal Mail vans. Picture: Alamy

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A spokesperson for Ofcom confirmed it would publish proposals this week, examining "how the universal postal service might need to evolve to more closely meet consumer needs".

"It would ultimately be for the UK government and Parliament to determine whether any changes are needed to the minimum requirements of the universal service," they added.

Royal Mail, owned by FTSE 250 Index company International Distribution Services plc, has previously suggested it would like to go from delivering six days a week to just weekdays.

Mr Seidenberg previously said the business was in the process of transforming as it was "not sustainable to maintain a delivery network built for 20 billion letters when we are now only delivering seven billion."

The change to five days a week would need to be approved through secondary legislation by the business secretary.

It comes after Royal Mail cheered its best festive performance for four years as it notched up higher revenues across letters and parcels and met its Christmas delivery pledge.

International Distributions Services said Royal Mail saw a “marked improvement” over the final three months of 2023 after moving on from a long-running dispute with unions over pay and working conditions.

It delivered more than 99 per cent of first and second-class mail sent by the last postal dates in time for Christmas.

Stamp price increases drove an 11.8 per cent rise in letter revenues in the quarter despite a 6 per cent drop in the number posted as the long-term decline in letter sending continued.

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