Proposal to Reduce Royal Mail Deliveries in U.K. Draws Ire

Britain’s postal service could consider cutting deliveries to five days a week, or even three, from six, the country’s regulator said on Wednesday, drawing resistance from lawmakers and businesses.

The Royal Mail, like the U.S. Postal Service, has been increasingly plagued by service issues and financial pressures. Given rising costs, the organization risks becoming “financially and operationally unsustainable in the long term,” according to a report by Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulator.

Reducing delivery to just three days a week would save the Royal Mail up to 650 million pounds ($830 million) a year, the report found. Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Belgium have reduced the frequency of delivery or extended delivery times for letters in recent years, Ofcom said.

Lawmakers, however, pushed back on the idea. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, whose Conservatives hold a majority, said on Wednesday that he remained “absolutely committed” to ensuring that the Royal Mail is delivered six days a week. The service, which was privatized in 2013, is required by law to deliver mail six days a week, so any change would require a vote in Parliament.

Richard Thomson, a member of Parliament for the Scottish National Party, said he opposed reducing the Royal Mail’s delivery days because many people, especially those in rural areas, depended on the postal service for transporting documents and delivering packages in a reliable, inexpensive way.

“What’s being proposed would eat at the very core of that assumption,” Mr. Thomson said. He added that privatization had left the Royal Mail on a path of putting the bottom line over customer service.

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