SIR - We are now only 17 months away from the end of Government subsidy for the Post Office network. No decision has been made on the future of the subsidy or, it appears, the Post Office network itself. Millions in rural Britain rely on their Post Office not just for stamps or fishing licences, but for social interaction within the heart of their community.

In no other circumstance would an industry's future get so close to the wire without firm plans and it is clear from the four million-strong petition recently handed to Downing Street that this issue is of vital importance to many. A long overdue plan for the future is needed.

SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance.