A huge row was brewing today over the future of Britain's post offices, amid speculation of a fresh round of closures.
The Government is expected to announce next week the level of its support for the network, which has fallen from more than 20,000 to about 14,500 in past years.
The Royal Mail has told ministers that post offices are losing millions of pounds a week despite a recent closure programme.
The Government spends £150m a year supporting the 9,400 rural post offices which is due to run out in 2008.
Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling is to tell MPs next week how much money the Government is prepared to give the Royal Mail.
The crucial decision will help the Royal Mail plan for the future size of the postal network.
Media reports today that half the country's post offices could close were regarded as "pure speculation" by all sides in the industry.
The leader of the country's sub postmasters called on the Government to give a clear statement next week which will help the industry plan for the future.
Colin Baker, General Secretary of the Federation of Sub Postmasters, told PA that today's reports were "unhelpful speculation" and said he believed no one really knew how many post offices would close.Reuse content