Royal Mail has said it will increase the price of first class and second class stamps.

The postal firm said the price of a first class stamp will jump 6p to 76p and the price of a second class stamp will rise 4p to 65p from March 23.

The company said the price increases are “necessary” to ensure the sustainability of its universal service.

Royal Mail said it is “operating in a challenging business environment” and is likely to be loss-making in the next financial year.

The firm said it considered the pricing changes “very carefully” and has sought to minimise the potential impact on customers.

The price increase comes amid a testing period for the postal giant, which is currently in talks over a new pay offer for staff amid the threat of strike action.

Royal Mail shares hit an all-time low earlier this year after it warned that it could miss its turnaround targets as it continues to be dogged by the threat of strikes.

It said stamp prices are “amongst the best value in Europe compared to other postal operators”, claiming that its own research shows the European average price for first class postage is £1.05.