Royal Mail has been hit with a whopping £5.6 million fine for failing to meet its delivery targets, it has been confirmed.
It comes following the completion of an Ofcom enforcement investigation.
The industry regulator was asked to investigate the country’s national postal service after it was referred by the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee – which is a cross-parliamentary committee made up of MPs nationwide – back in March for a suspected breach of the universal service obligation (USO) requiring the company to deliver letters six days a week.
The committee said Royal Mail had “systematically failed” in its duty to deliver letters, and claimed to find the company had prioritised more lucrative parcels instead.
Royal Mail is required to deliver 93% of first class mail within one working day, and 98.5% of second class items within three working days, while its target for completion of delivery routes is 99.9%.
But following the investigation, Ofcom said that, for the 2022-23 financial year, the postal service’s reported performance results showed that it had only delivered 73.7% of first-class mail on time, and just 90.7% of second-class mail.
On top of this, the investigation found that only 89.35% of delivery routes were completed for each day on which a delivery was required.
Ofcom said today’s fine of £5.6 million should serve as “a wake up call” for the company, and it must “take its responsibilities more seriously”, rather than relying on shifting the blame for its failures on to the aftermath of the pandemic and the several days of strike action by the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) several strikes in 2022.
Ian Strawhorne, who is the Director of Enforcement of Ofcom, said in a statement today: “Royal Mail’s role in our lives carries huge responsibility and we know from our research that customers value reliability and consistency.
“Clearly, the pandemic had a significant impact on Royal Mail’s operations in previous years. But we warned the company it could no longer use that as an excuse, and it just hasn’t got things back on track since.
“The company’s let consumers down, and today’s fine should act as a wake-up call – it must take its responsibilities more seriously.
“We’ll continue to hold Royal Mail to account to make sure it improves service levels.”
The committee’s inquiry took place amid a turbulent time for the Royal Mail when 112,000 of its staff -who were members of Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) – staged “the biggest strike of the summer” and several other subsequent walk-outs last year in a still-ongoing dispute over pay and the company’s modernisation plans.
Addressing the issuing of the fine this morning, a Royal Mail spokesperson described the last year as “uniquely challenging” for the postal service, before going on to cite the strike action as being a reason for quality of service being impacted.
“We are very disappointed with our Quality of Service performance in 2022-23, and acknowledge Ofcom’s decision today,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“Last year was uniquely challenging for Royal Mail. Quality of service was materially impacted by the long-running industrial dispute which included 18 days of strike action. We are pleased that Ofcom has acknowledged that elements outside of Royal Mail’s control had a significant impact on service levels and has adjusted the figures to 82% for first class and 95.5% for second class mail.
“We take our commitment to delivering a high level of service seriously and are taking action to introduce measures to restore quality of service to the level our customers expect.”
Featured Image – Royal Mail
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”