Daily deliveries to rural areas at risk, Royal Mail warns

Regular postal deliveries to rural homes and communities could soon be a thing of the past, leaving thousands of people trapped in isolation, the Royal Mail warned last night.

The recently-privatised postal service said the universal service obligation (USO), which requires it to deliver to any address in the country six days a week, could become unsustainable as rival delivery firms eat into its profits.

It has now demanded an investigation by Ofcom, the post and communications regulator, into the issue.

Campaigners have echoed the Royal Mail’s fears, saying that the threat to rural services could have a serious effect on the quality of life of people living outside towns and cities.

Jill Ypey, the chairman of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners, said: “Many who have retired to more rural areas have already lost their Post Offices and now could be faced with even less ability to keep in touch regularly. It would be catastrophic if the subsidy to deliver to rural areas is no longer available.”

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