Regrettably, its remit does not extend to another injustice – compensation – now compounding the misery suffered from those postmasters who lost their livelihoods, reputations and savings through no fault of their own.
And the inadequacy of current processes are set out in a damning report by Parliament’s cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee which challenges the Government to set up an independent body to oversee the payment of compensation.
It is a recommendation that the Treasury must honour if postmasters – pillars of the communities that they were proud to serve – are to recoup their financial losses, including the use of private savings to balance their books when the Horizon system went awry, and legal costs.
For, while some individuals have received redress, the 555 litigants whose collective court action exposed the scale of the scandal are out of pocket despite being awarded £57.75m by the High Court. When legal fees of £46m are subtracted from this sum, it leaves each postmaster with £20,000 when they each lost in excess of £100,000.
That isn not justice. It’s an injustice. And so, too, is Post Office Ltd’s obstructiveness over the processing of claims through the Historic Shortfall scheme. Not only will victims suffer financially due to these delays, warn MPs, but “more may die before they receive justice because of their age profile”.
If this warning isn’t sufficient to force the Government’s to accept and implement today’s report, and underwrite compensation until the Treasury reaches an agreement with the Post Office, then Ministers, too, will be complicit in this unforgivable scandal.
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