From 30 April the cost of Royal Mail services will increase significantly.
The changes will affect both personal and business customers, with price rises for many of the day-to-day services on which small firms rely.
Why are prices rising?
Royal Mail has received permission to set its own prices by the regulator Ofcom. The price increases are part of a new regulatory framework under which the service will now operate.
Royal Mail has consistently made a loss in recent years, and insists that it must be able to raise prices in order to make itself commercially viable. This freedom is seen as a key stage on the route to privatisation, which is expected in the next couple of years.
From 30 April prices will rise across all Royal Mail services.
The price of a First Class stamp will rise to 60 pence from 46 pence for letters weighing up to 100g.
The price of a Second Class stamp will rise to 50 pence from 36 pence for letters weighing up to 100g.
The price of First Class stamps for large letters will also rise. The tiered system will remain, beginning at 70 pence for large letters up to 100g (up from 55 pence) and ending at £1.80 for large letters up to 750g (up from £1.60).
There will be a flat rate for First Class packets up to 750g of £2.70.
There will be a flat rate for Second Class packets up to 750g of £2.20.
The tiered system for packets over 750g will remain. For example, the price of a First Class packet between 751g and 1000g will rise to £3.50 from £2.86, while the price of a First Class packet between 2001g and 4000g will rise to £9.60 from £7.83.
• Standard Parcels
Standard Parcels up to 2kg will rise to £5.30. The tiered system will remain, with prices rising to £21.90 for parcels up to 20kg.
The price of First Class franking will rise to 44 pence from 39 pence for letters up to 100g.
The price of Second Class franking will rise to 31 pence from 28 pence for letters up to 100g.
The tiered system will remain for letters over 100g and for packets. Franking remains cheaper than stamps at every weight point.