THIS is normally the week that postage prices increase, but this year it's not such a blow - the increase is not until the end of the month and people on benefits will get their Christmas stamps at 2011 prices.

But who on earth came up with 40p, 50p, 60p (which are reasonable prices for the service - imagine trying to deliver a letter yourself to the other end of the country for that price!) - and yet - wait for it - 69p?

I don't happen to know any Post Office staff who learned their 69-times-table in school - or I am being simply too cynical to think that Royal Mail actually want everyone to 'donate' the extra 1p to make life easier all round?

Jim O'Neil, Hoylake.