The Greetings Card Association (GCA), which represents more than 500 businesses, has called for longer-term reforms to Royal Mail when the postal service goes private under new owners.

The GCA said its members are concerned that the undertakings being proposed by the Royal Mail’s new owner EP Group will be “inadequate and short-lived.”

The organisation said the creative cards industry contributes £1.5bn to the UK economy and it is campaigning to prevent the Royal Mail postal service from being “given a 21st century ‘Beeching Axe’, with second-class deliveries chopped back to just three days a week and runaway prices for first class mail”.

The GCA is calling on Ofcom and parliamentary candidates to fix the postal service, affordable Saturday delivery services and protection from above-inflation price rises. 

The association also said an affordable single-price delivery service to all UK households must be protected.

GCA chief executive officer Amanda Fergusson said: “Our members are rightly concerned that the undertakings being proposed by EP Group in relation to its takeover of Royal Mail are inadequate and short-lived.

“A first-class, six-day service without long-term commitments on affordability risks leaving small businesses and consumers picking up the cost of this proposal. 

“What’s more, undertakings that expire after a single five-year parliamentary term will not inspire confidence from small businesses and consumers that the service is being protected for the long term. 

“Five-year commitments to support an institution with over 500 years of history appear to fall short. 

“The government and regulator must insist on lock-tight, long-term undertakings on affordability and reliability and the protection of our national service before approving this deal.

“What’s more, any future reform of our delivery service must be dependent on Royal Mail meeting the performance targets they’ve already signed up to.”