Thousands of post offices are set to close under a Royal Mail restructure to be discussed by the government next week.
A decision is expected from the Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) on Thursday over the closures, which are aimed at stopping the mail service from losing money from its outlets.
There has been speculation that the Royal Mail will be calling for the closure of 10,000 of its 14,400 outlets, but media reports claim that government ministers will only approve the closing of up to 3,000.
Rural branches are set to lose out in the restructure, with many smaller post offices closed. The Royal Mail is estimated to be losing around £2 million a week in its 8,000 rural and 6,500 urban post offices.
The DTI has confirmed that deciding the extent of the closures will be a balancing act between cutting losses and serving communities.
"We recognise the wider social role of the post office in communities. But also there is widespread recognition that the current size of the network is unsustainable," a spokesperson said.
Any closures will be implemented over a number a years but rural closures are expected to create a community backlash against the government from residents fighting to keep their local services, and local jobs, alive.
Campaigners against the losses are expected to hand in a petition to save the post offices, signed by four million people, to the government next week.