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Charities fear £50m mail strike loss at Christmas

Charities fear losing more than £50million as a result of a Royal Mail strike that would hit fundraising and sales of their Christmas cards. The voluntary groups have already seen a disastrous drop in individual and corporate giving because of the recession.

That has left them even more reliant than usual on the tens of millions of pounds of income from the sale of festive cards. Mail-based fundraising campaigns, which pull in similar sums, are also in jeopardy.

Business bodies have suggested a national strike could cost their members more than £300million in lost orders and the extra costs of finding alternative delivery methods.

They have warned it would deliver a 'body blow' to the fragile economic recovery in the crucial pre-Christmas trading period.

They have called on Business Secretary Lord Mandelson to intervene in the pay and conditions dispute between Royal Mail bosses and the Communication Workers Union.

Christmas cards account for 43 per cent of the greetings card market  a staggering 641million are sold with a retail value of £324million.

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