We will be licking our wounds over charges

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UK businesses should brace themselves for significant increases in the cost of postal services after the announcement by Ofcom which paves the way for Royal Mail bosses to set stamp prices themselves.

Royal Mail will be free to increase the cost of a first class stamp without limit, but with caps in place for second class letters and parcels for at least seven years.

We believe this will almost inevitably lead to first class charges becoming unaffordable for many small firms, forcing reliance instead on the far slower second class system.

Under the new model, 93% of first class would be expected to arrive next day, and 98.5% of second within three days.

We think these changes are bad for business, and will ultimately cost small firms – the bread and butter users of the postal service – far more to send items via first and to a lesser extent second class in the years ahead.

If Ofcom thinks it can give Royal Mail these new freedoms and prices won’t quickly go up, it is deluded. It will also result in a postal system where the bulk of all post will eventually be sent second class.

Simple economics suggests this will, ultimately, force the cost of first higher as increasingly fewer use the premium service.

Surely it would have been better for Ofcom to have more of a direct say in any price increases rather than relinquishing this power?

The costs of business are already high. There needs to be some respite, not further crude hikes.

Phil Orford, chief executive Forum of Private Business

Call to reduce duty on fuel

Since it is quite clear from the Chancellor’s budget speech that top-rate tax payers have avoided paying it, one may be forgiven for asking why has he not put in place measures to close the loopholes that allow this to happen?

I am sure that such schemes that are used for this are perfectly legal.

If this is so, then there is obviously something wrong with the legal system and measures to address this should, in my opinion, be put in place.

If billions more were to be collected from this tax, surely more tax relief would be available for those who really need it most.

It is a fact that the price of motor fuel directly affects inflation so why does this absurdly high fuel duty not be reduced by this greedy Government?

Thomas Kelly

Scafell Grove

Platt Bridge

Beware a rush on humble aspirin

It seems as if every day there is a news story about something causing or preventing cancer.

Now we are being told that new aspirin research findings could “change the equation” over treating cancer.

Who would have thought that taking one of these little pills every day could prevent the spread of cancer?

Although this report came with clearly worded warnings about side-effects, I do worry that some people, in their blind terror of developing cancer, could start scoffing the pills before they even need to, thus running a greater risk of getting internal bleeding.

I hope GPs and pharmacists will warn people.

Name and address supplied