Well, that's another small monthly earner that the Royal Mail has lost because of its disruptions and strike threats. I have just organised to pay my credit card bills online. I used to send cheques, but if they get delayed in the mail I know I could find myself racking up huge interest payments. So now I'm not going to mail cheques any more. It's even quicker, and it saves the costs of the stamps.
Sadly for the Royal Mail, it also means less revenue for them. Not much, but then how many millions of us are doing the same thing, or something like it? The answer is quite a lot – the number of letters that the Royal Mail carried fell by about 500m over the period 2007/8 and I cannot imagine that the 2009 figures will reverse the trend. Their monopoly status has left them resistant to change, and too willing to raise the price of a stamp to cover their inefficiencies. Unless they do something fast – privatizing themselves, or finding a commercial network partner to breathe some better ways of working into the business and find new things for it to do – then the Royal Mail seems to be in a downward spiral.
Dr Butler's book The Rotten State of Britain is now in paperback.