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16.5 million people hit by letter delays in January, finds Citizens Advice

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16.5 million people hit by letter delays in January, finds Citizens Advice

Friday 12 February 2021

Almost one in three people (31%) across the UK experienced a delay in sending or receiving letters during January 2021, new research by Citizens Advice has found.

The charity also found:

  • Almost one in 20 people (4%) received no letters for the entire month
  • One in 14 people (7%) experienced serious negative consequences of struggling to receive post, like being unable to pay a bill, or missing a GP appointment or job interview. This doubled (14%) for those who were self-isolating or shielding
  • People across London (42%), the West Midlands (37%), and the South East (36%) were most likely to experience a delay

Citizens Advice has also seen a 365% increase in the number of people looking for advice on Royal Mail delays on its website in January, compared to January 2020.

The charity has had people get in touch with concerns that missing mail has seen them unable to pay bills, apply for benefits, and receive vital support from the charity’s advice service.

Citizens Advice, the consumer advocate for the postal sector, is urging Royal Mail to ensure that:

  • Letters are delivered weekly at an absolute minimum, and delivery returns to normal levels as soon as possible
  • People are given clear information on what’s happening in their area and how long delays could last

Alistair Cromwell, Acting Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“We know Royal Mail have faced new pressures during the pandemic, and postal workers have worked tirelessly to ensure we can all stay connected. But letter delivery is a vital public service, relied on by many for bills and other critical information.

“Ensuring that people are able to receive letters at least once a week will provide reassurance to millions. We also urge Royal Mail to provide more transparency to people about what they can expect.”