Watford’s mayor has hit out at suggestions Royal Mail could reduce delivery days despite assurances over the town’s post.

After Ofcom suggested that Royal Mail could be allowed to cut its letter deliveries to five days a week or even three, as part of a series of options, Watford mayor Peter Taylor slammed the idea for going against assurances he was given.

Mr Taylor had held a meeting with regional post bosses on December 19, after locals complained of long delays, and afterwards said he was told there would be no more delays for the town’s letters.

The Liberal Democrat mayor said: “I had a meeting with Royal Mail last year and went to visit their delivery offices earlier this month.

"There, I had been promised letters for residents every day. This new revelation is completely different news to what I was told.

“Royal Mail were adamant that that there will be ‘letters every day’ and ‘there will no longer be any delays to the postal service for the foreseeable future’. Meaning that any delays to mail delivery should not be more than 24 hours.”

Long-lasting postal chaos last year disrupted the lives of Watford residents. Many complained of delays lasting weeks and disruption to important NHS post, while some received no post at all for as many as 13 days.

Watford Observer: Royal Mail van.Royal Mail van. (Image: Martini archive)

“The news of the potentially halved service is really very concerning,” Mr Taylor added.

“If letters are only delivered three days a week, and a round is missed, there will be big gaps in deliveries.

“For people waiting on an NHS appointment or a business needing a letter, this is a serious impact on people’s lives.”

Ofcom has said the service is “getting out of date and will become unsustainable if we don’t take action”. It wants to spark a “national debate” on the future of the UK’s postal service, with a consultation on the proposals open until April 3.

Watford Observer: Watford mayor Peter Taylor.Watford mayor Peter Taylor.

The Royal Mail, which is owned by International Distributions Services (IDS), recorded a £419 million loss in its previous financial year, while it was also fined £5.6 million last year for failing to meet its delivery targets.

IDS agreed that reform was “urgently needed” yesterday.

Ofcom does not have the power to scrap Saturday letter deliveries and ministers have been quick to dismiss any suggestion that the government would sanction such a move.

Yesterday’s proposal has come from Ofcom, rather than the Royal Mail itself. The regulator said the two "primary options" being mooted are to allow most letters to be delivered after up to three days or longer and reducing the number of letter delivery days.