Stamp price rises force half of over-50s to cut back on Christmas cards
09:23 GMT, 27 November 2012
One in two Britons over the age of 50 plan to send fewer Christmas cards this year due to the soaring price of a stamp, a report warned yesterday.
Royal Mail this year raised the price of a first class stamp from 46p to 60p and the price of a second class one from 36p to 50p.
A survey of 8,560 people by Saga, the old age experts, is the first insight into the impact of the increase on ordinary Britons.
Last year, the average number of Christmas cards sent by post by the over-50s was 38, but this is expected to fall to 28 this year
The report says a Christmas card has become ‘a luxury many can no longer afford’, and warns of the impact on elderly people, many of whom suffer from loneliness.
When asked if they planned to send Christmas cards this year, 51 per cent said ‘they would send fewer than they did last year due to the rise in stamp prices’.
Last year, the average number of Christmas cards they sent by post was 38, but this is expected to fall to 28 this year.
Royal Mail this year raised the price of a first class stamp from 46p to 60p and the price of a second class from 36p to 50p
Around 90 per cent said it is often the only time they communicate with certain members of their family or their friends.
Dr Ros Altmann, director general of Saga, said: ‘We mustn’t forget how important a lifeline the postal system is for older people.
'It is easy to take instant communication for granted but many older people are reliant upon the postal system, particularly at Christmas, and value it highly.
‘Many people will be upset they cannot send as many Christmas cards as they have done in previous years.’
Shadow postal affairs minister Ian Murray said the Royal Mail is ‘walking a fine line between pricing people out of the market and increasing their revenues’.
In a bid to help some customers, Royal Mail is allowing people who receive certain benefits, such as pension credit, to buy up to 36 stamps at last year’s prices.
Yesterday a Royal Mail spokesman said of the Saga survey: ‘This research runs counter to our own findings.
'We have done some detailed consumer research that showed people are still intending to send as many or more Christmas cards than last year.’
Its survey of 2,000 people, conducted online by OnePoll, found that the average person plans to send 19 cards this year, compared with 15 last year.