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The future of our postal service

Back at the beginning of this year Ofcom, the postal regulator, launched a consultation on the future of the Universal Service Obligation (USO). The current USO guarantees a ‘one price goes anywhere’ principle of affordable postal services to all UK addresses and requires Royal Mail to deliver letters to every address in the UK, six days a week, at a uniform price, and parcels five days a week. Given the significant cost to Royal Mail of delivering the universal service, there is an increasing risk it will become financially and operationally unsustainable in the long term.

This is an important debate and the outcome is one that we must all have a say in which is why we started a conversation with our members and supporters. The response to our survey showed that:

  • Responders would prefer to have fewer delivery days and maintain the one-price deliver anywhere commitment.
  • If delivery days were to be cut, responders would support a 5-day-a-week delivery.
  • Their preferred communication is via letters. 

We have now responded to this consultation which you can read here. While the consultation looked at a number of options regarding the future of the USO we felt it was important to make clear that we have one red line and that is to maintain the one-price-goes-anywhere service that Royal Mail provides and our members and rural communities value so much.


Key points from the Countryside Alliance on the future of the USO
  • The Countryside Alliance believes Ofcom must retain the one-price-goes-anywhere service that Royal Mail provides and our members and rural communities value so much.
  • Postal services and the USO are essential to those living and working in the countryside.
  • Parcels to be delivered up to seven days a week as currently.
  • The number of mail deliveries can be reduced to five per week if it maintains the one price goes anywhere services.

The working of the postal services market and the USO must be addressed to ensure that we have a fair postal market which can respond to the changing market and deliver to all communities.

You can read our full response to Ofcom’s consultation on the future of postal services here.

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