April 10 2012.

Royal Mail is about to hike up the cost of using its 'cost effective' postal service.

On its website and in a letter circulated during March 2012, Royal Mail claims to have thought carefully about the price increases, stating; "We know how hard it is for households and businesses when our economy is as tough as it is now. We have thought very carefully about the impact on our customers and our own business, before deciding to raise our prices."

Effective 30 April 2012, the price to send a first class letter jumps from 46p to 60p and second class from 36p to 50p. The biggest increase is levied against sending a light-weight small packet as the banding has been amalgamated to provide just one 0-750g weight band, rather than the previous four-stage increments. So whereas currently a packet weighing up to 100g will cost £1.58 to post; from 30 April it'll be £2.70, an additional £1.12 representing an increase in the region of 70 per cent!

Business customers can benefit from lower cost post fees by using a franking machine but then, of course, the machine lease and associated consumables need to be taken into account.

For full details of all Royal Mail prices visit