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Minister stamps on mailbox fee idea

A suggestion that people may in future have to pay to receive mail, as well as to send it, has been categorically rejected by the Swiss communications minister.

This content was published on December 5, 2009 - 16:01

The head of the Swiss Post, Michel Kunz, said in an interview with Saturday’s Basler Zeitung newspaper that households could have to pay the equivalent of a licence fee for their postbox.

He explained that the increased use of emails means that the per item cost of delivering mail had risen. But to raise the cost of stamps would be to enter a vicious circle, discouraging people from using postal services even more.

A “connection fee” to the postal services should be regarded in the same way as a radio or television licence, he said. It would be collected once a year, and would be the same for all. There would be no extra fees for remote households.

But in an immediate reaction, Communications Minister Moritz Leuenberger said the idea was “absolutely not up for discussion”.

“I wish to clearly distance myself from it,” he announced in a statement issued by the ministry.

While admitting that postal deliveries may stop being a core function of the Post, he said increased costs could be covered by such services as Postfinance, the Post’s bank.

Munz said the idea of a mailbox fee was being mooted in different countries in Europe, all of whom are faced with the same problem of falling deliveries.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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