Small businesses shouldn't have to bear the brunt if Royal Mail axes Saturday post

21 January 2024, 19:50

Royal Mail proposals to axe Saturday post would undoubtedly hit a nerve, writes Tina McKenzie.
Royal Mail proposals to axe Saturday post would undoubtedly hit a nerve, writes Tina McKenzie. Picture: Alamy
Tina McKenzie

By Tina McKenzie

Royal Mail proposals to axe Saturday post would undoubtedly hit a nerve with many across the UK.

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The proposals, which could see Royal Mail deliver post five days instead of six, is a significant alteration to a service deeply integrated into the nation's routine.

This will not just impact the householder waiting for bills and birthday cards and car tax reminders, it would also disrupt the rhythm of small businesses that depend on weekend deliveries.

While overall mail volumes have fallen in recent years, small firms remain a critical and loyal customer base of Royal Mail. They have built their operations around the reliability of the six-day service.

Not just parcels

It is not just parcels that small firms depend on, either. The small cake maker might use the traditional post to send smaller items that can easily slip into an envelope, such as a decorative topper.

Alyssa Smith, an FSB member in Hertfordshire with a jewellery business, has relied on Royal Mail for over 14 years.

Most of the items she sends fits as large letters, and she called this news “worrying”.

She said: “When customers aren’t home to take a delivery, they go online and reschedule it for Saturday when they know they’ll be home to sign for it. With this service ditched, where will that leave the consumer?”

Royal Mail: a trusted British institution

Indeed, many turn to Royal Mail because it’s a trusted British institution. With a six-day service reduced to five days, customers needing something quickly on a Saturday might be deterred from using companies that only trade with Royal Mail.

While we appreciate the need to make savings in order to sustain Royal Mail’s financial future, small businesses should not have to bear the brunt of any changes.

The bigger impact

It is also worth noting that larger firms have the luxury of being able to buy mail services in larger volumes, which is often impractical for small firms due to the scale and associated costs. They are, therefore, more dependent on Royal Mail.

In the last year alone, we’ve seen a cyber attack shutdown and strike action pause our postal services. This highlights the fragility of a service many small firms rely on.

Cutbacks risk undermining the future of a dependable postal service for small firms already navigating a maze of operational challenges.

We’ve had discussions with Royal Mail about the need to consider small firms as key customers – cutting back the USO is not the way to improve services.


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