(Adds extra information from Royal Mail in final par)

The price of a 1st class stamp is to rise by 3p to 70p and a 2nd class stamp will also go up by 3p, to 61p, Royal Mail has announced.

The increases will take effect from March 25 and will help ensure the sustainability of the universal postal service, the company said.

Royal Mail said it had reviewed the changes "very carefully" while seeking to minimise any impact on customers.

Stamp prices in the UK rate among the best value in Europe, the company added.

The Royal Mail said its research showed that the average price of a 1st class stamp in Europe was 99p and 77p for 2nd class, adding that the UK has one of the highest quality of service specifications of any major European country.