Last chance to buy stamps before Royal Mail hikes prices in April

Royal Mail will hike the price of its stamps in April, with costs to rise by up to 10p.

The company confirmed it would be hiking prices earlier this month and the change will come into effect from 4 April.

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How much will stamps cost?

The cost of first class stamps will increase by 10p from their current price, from 85p to 95p each.

Meanwhile the price of second class stamps will increase to 68p, up 2p from 66p.

If you send a lot of letters, it could be a good idea to stock up on some stamps now before the prices increase.

What stamps are rising in price?

Alongside first and second class stamps, other stamps will increase in cost from 4 April.

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Large letter stamps will increase to £1.45, up 16p, for first class and to £1.05, up 9p, for second class.

A standard letter can weigh up to 100g with a measure maximum of 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm.

While large letters can measure 35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm - but still have to weigh 100g or less.

Why is Royal Mail increasing its stamp prices?

Royal Mail blamed the increase of its prices on Brits sending fewer letters.

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A statement released on 4 March said: "Royal Mail has considered these pricing changes very carefully in light of the long term structural decline in letter usage and rising inflation.

"Letter volumes have declined by more than 60% since their peak in 2004/5, and around 20% since the start of the pandemic."

What are Royal Mail’s new barcode stamps?

Royal Mail announced it is rolling out new barcode stamps from 31 January 2023.

This means that ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of the Queen will not be valid after this date, without paying extra costs.

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Instead only barcoded stamps with the Queen’s profile on, or non-barcoded Christmas or special collection stamps, will be allowed.

If you want to use old-style stamps after January 2023, you will need to exchange them for barcoded stamps through the free Royal Mail “Swap Out” scheme. This goes live on Thursday (31 March) and closes on 31 March 2023.

Royal Mail has not yet said if there will be a limit on how many stamps you can swap, so customers planning on purchasing a bulk of stamps should keep this in mind as you may not use them all by January 2023.

The only stamps you will be able to use after January 2023 are the barcode stamps, collectable stamps and Christmas stamps.

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What else is rising in price from April?

Energy bills are rising from next month, with the price cap increasing by almost £700 for those on a default rate paying by direct debit.

Council tax, mobile and broadband and water bills are also going up from April.

Food bills are also estimated to cost us an extra £180 this year, according to experts at consultancy firm Kantar.

The rising of prices across the board comes as inflation has surged to 6.2% and there are predictions it will continue to rise this year.