Post Office scandal: Govt to pay for the compensation of postmasters

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For the benefit of ex-Post Office employees wrongly found guilty of theft during the lengthy Horizon case, the government agreed to pay the bills.

According to the Post Office, they can’t pay for payments made by exonerated people.

Sky News reported that, after being the Post Office’s sole shareholder, the government agreed to pay.

Details will be revealed in Parliament on Tuesday.

After the meeting, it is possible to begin discussions with each individual about settlement.

Department for Business stated that postmasters are at risk of losing their lives and livelihoods.

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Based on data from Horizon, the Post Office has prosecuted 736 sub postmasters and sub-postmistresses in approximately one week between 2000-2014.

Some were sentenced for theft or false accounting. Others suffered financial ruin and felt marginalized by their community.

It was software that was to blame, which contained “bugs and errors” as per the High Court judgment, which invalidated many convictions.

Before campaigners could win the legal battle for their cases to be reconsidered, some died.

As more details of the scandal become public, the government’s bill continues to grow. Even though they have spent thousands on legal fees to sue sub-postmasters through court, the Post Office basically said that it couldn’t afford to cover any clearing up. It’s the responsibility of the government, as the single shareholder, to resolve the matter.

They already had agreed to the payment of costs for the program that reimburses money put in by branch managers to correct the IT errors. The bill is expected to run in the millions. Some of them are receiving cash advances.

The government is now willing to pay for any financial settlements made with people wrongly convicted.

Although money can’t cover the cost of losing your livelihood or family relationship, as well as the freedom you have, some convicted people will likely see multi-million dollar settlements.

After years of neglecting to report problems at the Post Office for decades, the government now has to tap the vast resources of taxpayers to make up the difference.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business claimed that the government was committed to resolving long-standing Horizon issues and would also provide interim compensation payments for people whose convictions have been overturned.

“We’re also trying to find out what happened through the Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry and making sure that this doesn’t happen again,” they said.

BBC News asked for comments from the Post Office.

In April’s speech, Nick Read, the chief executive of Post Office admitted: “We must accept that it was the Post Office who caused what has for some been very deep pain.

“There is no way to turn the clock back. Compensation must be paid for the pain.”

He also called on the government to pay funding to former post officers quickly and efficiently.

Already a plan was in place to offer financial redress as well as compensation, with the support of the government.

About 400 compensations had been made as of June to the affected.

“It’s been quite a 15-year journey.”

An ex-Post Office worker, who had waited 15 year for justice, celebrated his victory in November by enjoying a cup of tea and seeing his conviction overturned.

Anthony Gant, of Newtown in Powys, was wrongly convicted of false accounting back in 2007, when software showed his branch to be short of more than £14,550.

He was among six other ex-Post Office workers who had their criminal convictions reversed at Southwark Crown Court last Month.

According to Mr Gant, “It’s been an unusual 15 years.” He couldn’t believe the fact that each week, the numbers stopped adding up.

It was an error. “I was compensating my losses by topping up the account. He explained that I took out credit cards money but ended up having no cash to do it anymore. I buried my head under the sand.”

Learn more about the story of his life here.

Source: BBC.com

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