The Post Office has repaid 777 of some 2,500 postmasters who applied for compensation because of a company computing scandal.
Nick Read, the chief executive of the Post Office, today admitted that while the process of compensating postmasters is underway the company lacks the necessary funds to pay back all the victims.
Horizon technology, used as an accounting tool by the Post Office, saw hundreds of employees wrongfully accused of theft and fraud until flaws in the programme were identified by the High Court in 2019.
“The post office itself doesn’t have the financial resources to compensate a miscarriage of justice of this scale,” Read told MPs, at a meeting of the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy committee.
In total 950 postmasters were prosecuted over a twenty year period between 1999 and 2019, with 736 convictions “specifically” linked to the flawed Horizon software.
Read said the company has repaid 777 of some 2,500 postmasters who have applied to a historic shortfall scheme while 57 out of 66 former postmasters have received £100,000 after having criminal convictions overturned, with the payment designed to “bridge the gap” until a full settlement is reached.
“On behalf of the Post Office we are extremely sorry,” said Read. “It is my intention to make sure that we do give full and final compensation to all the victims of the past and their families.”
Despite the company’s efforts Read admitted that 127 of the 736 postmasters who are eligible to have their convictions overturned have not yet been contacted.