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Lib Dems call on Royal Mail to offer free postage to and from UK care homes for Christmas

The Liberal Democrats are calling on Royal Mail to offer free postage to and from care homes in the UK to ensure that no vulnerable person goes without love this Christmas.

The move comes after An Post—Ireland's postal service—announced it will carry letters, large envelopes, packets and parcels up to 2Kg addressed to residents in nursing homes, residential accommodation in the mental health or disability sectors and convalescent homes for free until 31st January 2021.

Senior Liberal Democrat spokesperson John Leech has written to Royal Mail asking that they follow An Post's "wonderful gesture to support families and loved ones living in care homes, who have been so terribly impacted by the Covid19 pandemic."

Royal Mail handled more than 164 million parcels in December 2018, but the postal service looks set for a record-breaking year.

It has already handled as many letters and parcels this year so far as it did in the whole of 2019—and the peak Christmas period for 2020 has not even begun yet.

Royal Mail reported revenues of £10.8 billion with an adjusted operating profit of £325 million, for the year to March 2020.

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson John Leech said:

“Times have never been tougher and this Christmas will be one of the toughest times yet. It would be heartbreaking if family members or friends in care homes went without love this Christmas.

"So, we've got to come together like never before. That means reaching out and staying connected with the most vulnerable and isolated members of our community.

"That's why I've written to Royal Mail and asked them to follow An Post's lead and offer free postage to and from care homes in the UK to make sure no one goes without love this Christmas."

An Post announced that by writing FREEPOST where the stamp would normally be affixed, they will carry cards, letters large envelopes and packets weighing up to 2KG without a postage stamp. Customers can send these items through the Post Office network and post boxes across Ireland.  Items will be checked to ensure that the recipient address is addressed to a nursing home or Residential Facility. Customers will need to include a sending and return address on all items. All existing postage rates apply.

The full letter is below:

Dear Mr Simpson,

I hope you’re well and staying safe. I am sure that you will be aware that An Post, Ireland's postal service, is offering free delivery of all cards and letters posted to and from residents of nursing and care homes in Ireland until 31st January 2021. 

This is a wonderful gesture to support families and loved ones living in care homes, who have been so terribly impacted by the Covid19 pandemic. 

I would like to suggest that Royal Mail follows this example and makes the same commitment for residents living in care homes in the UK. All the evidence suggests that restrictions will be in place until the New Year, and there is every chance that restrictions will be made tougher in most areas of the country.

This will mean that people face the prospect of not being able to see their loved ones around Christmas, and being reliant on the Royal Mail to keep in touch. 

I appreciate that the pandemic has been a challenge for businesses, and I am aware that Royal Mail has seen a continued decline in posted letters. However, at the same time, there has been a huge increase in the parcel part of the business. This trend is very likely to continue, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. 

Providing this support to some of our most vulnerable residents would be a magnificent gesture by Royal Mail, and would be a great opportunity for the company to help out at this challenging time.

Kind Regards,
John Leech.

 
 

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