The government has introduced a Bill to ensure a payout is given to all those exposed to the Horizon IT scandal, and lifted the deadline of the compensation.
The Post Office (Horizon System) Compensation Bill has been created following feedback from the Horizon IT inquiry. It will ensure that claimants will be paid past the arbitrary deadline of 7 August 2024.
Minister for Postal Affairs Kevin Hollinrake said: “The Post Office Scandal is widely described as the biggest miscarriage of justice in our history, and it is imperative that the victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
“I am determined that lessons are learnt from this scandal to prevent anything like this ever happening again. This Bill will ensure postmasters aren’t tied to an arbitrary deadline when making their claims or unnecessarily pressurised.”
The government said it is still determined to make compensation as soon as possible, and before the deadline next year. However, it added that time needs to be taken to assess ‘more complex claims’, so postmasters receive ‘full and fair compensation’ and are not unduly rushed into making a decision on their claims.
Lord Arbuthnot, member of the Horizon Compensation Advisory Board, welcomed the lifting of the deadline, but said that “speed of payment is of the essence”.
“We shall have to look at the precise details, but the Bill confirms that the government does intend to provide full and fair compensation to the sub-postmasters and will not be deflected from that by arbitrary timescales. The Advisory Board will do all we can to ensure that payments are made as early as possible.”
In September 2023, the government announced that it would provide £600,000 to postmasters whose wrongful convictions have been overturned.
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