The Post Office has announced the first in a series of six-week public consultations for at-risk post offices as part of its closure programme. The first consultations to be announced include Kent, where 58 offices are under threat, East Midlands where 77 are listed, and East Yorkshire where 45 face possible closure.
Consultations have also begun in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and East Essex and Suffolk. In Wales, Cardiff and Glamorgan Valleys are being studied, while in Scotland, subpostmasters in Falkirk and Glasgow will be the first to know their fate.
Consultation periods are due to begin in November in Sussex, Hampshire, Merseyside, Leicestershire and North Yorkshire, with all consultations due to be completed by July 2008. As part of the closures package the government is proposing to establish 500 outreach services.
Chief executive of the Rural Shops Alliance Ken Parsons warned subpostmasters to be prepared and said: "This is a very emotive issue and we will all need to plan our responses to the situation. It is going to happen in every county soon."