Help me pile pressure on Royal Mail to offer free post for care homes

Times have never been tougher, and this Christmas will be one of the most challenging yet. 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.

It would be heartbreaking if family members or friends in care homes went without love this Christmas.

Earlier this year, An Post—Ireland’s postal service—announced it would 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.

It’s a wonderful gesture that will support families and loved ones living in care homes, who have been so terribly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s why I wrote to Royal Mail last month and asked them to follow An Post’s lead and offer free postage to and from care homes in the UK.

The Royal Mail’s role in response to the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be understated. Their staff have battled through in the toughest of times with professionalism and dedication.

By October, they had already handled more letters and parcels than they did in the whole of 2019—and the peak Christmas period for 2020 is only just beginning.

But with the national lockdown reimposed, and evidence suggesting that restrictions could be in place until the New Year, this is one small way to ensure that no one is left behind this winter.

I was pleased that the Royal Mail responded quickly and said they were considering my suggestion, but now is the time for you to tell them what it would mean for people in your communities.

No one knows their communities better than Liberal Democrat campaigners and councillors. We’re immersed and engaged all year round, and we know how much something like this could mean to local people.

I know there are thousands of vulnerable people in Manchester who would really benefit from this and could turn a cold, lonely winter around for them.

That’s why we’ve launched a campaign pack for you to use in your local area. (Note that you need to enter your email address on that page and request access.)

By telling the Royal Mail how much this initiative would mean to our local communities, we can really highlight the power this small gesture will have on some of the most vulnerable people up and down this country.


* Cllr John Leech was Lib Dem MP for Manchester Withington until 2015 and is now an opposition councillor in Manchester.

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  • Peter Martin 15th Nov '20 - 11:17am

    Unlikely IMO.

    AnPost is a nationalised industry subject to democratic control.

    However In July 2013, the then business secretary Vince Cable announced Royal Mail was to be floated on the London Stock Exchange……….

  • nvelope2003 15th Nov '20 - 2:32pm

    Most of Royal Mail’s business now is the carriage of parcels since the collapse of letter mail in favour of email. They compete for this work with other parcel carriers as they have always done even before the Royal Mail was privatised. Why not ask Amazon to allow their vans to deliver parcels free as they seem to have knocked most of their competitors out. I would be interested to hear their response. I saw a postman carrying a large parcel and got someone else’s mail – not surprisingly as although I have lived here for many years I could not find the address of the intended recipient in the street.

  • Paul Barker 15th Nov '20 - 2:53pm

    If this sort of thing is to happen it should be Industry-wide. Royal Mail are in very poor financial straights & have an overworked & underpaid workforce. Amazon have a license to print money, let them volonteer first.
    A declaration of interest, I own a small number of RM shares & a tiny, “hobby” business selling books on Amazon.

  • Off message comment (although agreeing with John), John is not the only LD Councillor on Manchester City Council.
    Sadly not as many there as they deserve, but please get that right!

  • Andy Hyde – we are dependent on what people tell us for the by-lines. I have now amended John’s.

  • Richard Underhil 16th Nov '20 - 8:01pm

    Today’s good news on vaccines and who gets priority may offer a better solution. Your heart is in the right place.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Nov '20 - 10:22am

    Richard Underhill 16th Nov ’20 – 8:01pm
    What about the other direction?
    Should they provide free postage to letters and cards being sent from care homes?

  • nvelope2003 17th Nov '20 - 2:53pm

    Peter James: I wonder what sort of service we would get if there was only one provider.
    I believe the Royal Mail started delivering parcels in the 1880s although it had a monopoly of letter mail and no one wants to deliver letters now. Some countries have already stopped this service although I daresay someone would do it at a high price if asked.
    I wonder if you would be happy if we only had one supermarket, either Lidl or Waitrose ?
    The rival firms do provide work and some guarantee the parcels service will be there.

  • Roger Roberts 17th Nov '20 - 11:07pm

    First class idea. Thank you John. I’ve put in a written question asking H.M.G to be in touch with Royal Mail on this proposal andI hope we have a favourable response.

  • nvelope2003 18th Nov '20 - 3:10pm

    Roger Roberts: Why should Royal Mail be the only one to provide a free service ? I am sure Amazon would be deeply hurt if they were not allowed to spend some of their huge profits in a more socially acceptable way – or maybe not more likely.

  • Like it or not, the Royal Mail is privatised.

    Why not pile pressure on FedEx, UPS, DHL etc to deliver mail to care homes for free?

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