Post was not collected yesterday, for the first time for 17 years, as the Royal Mail cut its Sunday service in part of its drive to cut costs and improve efficiency.
The company said mail collected on a Sunday accounted for less than 1 per cent of the total but cost four times as much to handle.
More than 80 per cent of post boxes did not have a Sunday collection anyway, said a spokesman, adding that most countries in Europe, including France and Germany, did not collect mail on a Sunday.
He added: "Demand for a Sunday collection service is very limited. It used to cost Royal Mail four times as much to handle as letters posted on other days of the week.
"The Royal Mail operates in a fully competitive market and we have to reduce our costs to improve efficiency and enable us to compete successfully with our rivals." The Consumer watchdog, Postwatch, said that it had recently conducted research and found little demand among people for a Sunday collection service.
A spokesman for the Communication Workers Union said: "This is another reduction in the public service, caused by the race to the bottom with competition and the pursuit of profit. The CWU again calls on the Government to undertake an urgent review of the impact of competition on postal services."Reuse content