Help For 'Vulnerable' Before Stamp Price Rise
The postal regulator is planning to cap what Royal Mail can charge to send large letters and small parcels second class, to help protect vulnerable consumers and small businesses from pending price increases.
Ofcom said the move effectively extends the so-called "safeguard cap" on second class letters to large letters and small parcels up to 2kg in weight.
It means that average price increases for such mail will be capped at 34% up to 2019.
The announcement was made ahead of higher stamp prices coming into effect on Monday - up from 46p to 60p for first class and 36p to 50p for second class letters.
Stuart McIntosh, Ofcom's group director of competition, said: "Our proposals ensure that prices of large letters and small parcels up to 2kg will remain affordable."
Adam Scorer, director of policy and external affairs at Consumer Focus, welcomed the regulator's intervention.
He said: "Consumer Focus research indicates that consumers, particularly those who do not have access to the internet, continue to rely on mail as a vital means of communication.
"Ofcom's own figures suggest that half of the average weekly spend on post is on large letters and small parcels.
"A cap is to be welcomed as it will help soften the blow of stamp price rises."