Victims of Post Office Horizon scandal awarded millions more in compensation

·2 min read

Victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal have been awarded a further £19.5m in compensation from the government.

Postal affairs minister Paul Scully said an interim payment of compensation to eligible members of a group representing postmasters will be made.

The award takes the total amount of compensation to around £30m.

"These postmasters and their families have shown immense courage in the face of terrible circumstances," Mr Scully said.

"I hope this initial step provides some comfort to these pioneering postmasters while reaffirming our commitment to ensuring they receive their fair share in compensation."

Speaking in the House of Commons, he added that postmasters will be contacted to fill out an application for the compensation in the coming weeks.

He continued to confirm that 75 convictions have now been overturned, with some quashed in recent weeks, and the Post Office has received 74 applications for interim compensation payments.

"Recently, 67 offers have been accepted by and paid out to claimants, totalling nearly £7m. This marks significant progress," Mr Scully said.

"It's important, in addition to providing compensation, that we learn lessons so that something similar can never happen again."

Earlier this year, the government announced an independent inquiry into the Horizon scandal, which began in February.

Read more:
What is the Post Office scandal, why were postmasters prosecuted, and what is Horizon?
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Horizon was a faulty computer system that incorrectly showed shortfalls of money within the Post Office.

The error, starting in the late 1990s, led to more than 700 employees being wrongly convicted of theft and false accounting, with some even sent to prison.

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In 2019, a number of postmasters who took the first legal action against the Post Office over Horizon received £43m plus legal costs in a settlement, but much of this money was swallowed up by the associated costs of funding their case.

They were ineligible for the Historical Shortfall Scheme (HSS) which was subsequently set up to compensate other affected postmasters.

In March, the government confirmed that it would create a new scheme to ensure the group does not lose out, and Thursday's interim payment will provide support while this scheme is finalised.

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