One of the leading Post Office Horizon scandal campaigners has said he will reject an offer of compensation from the government, which he says is “around a sixth” of what he asked for.
Alan Bates, whose two-decade fight inspired the ITV series Mr Bates vs The Post Office, told The Daily Telegraph the offer was “offensive” and “cruel”.
The government confirmed plans for “full and fair compensation” to those affected by the IT scandal in 2022, which between 1999 and 2015 saw more than 700 staff members wrongly prosecuted of theft, false accounting and fraud due to faulty accounting software called Horizon.
“‘Full and fair’ might be His Majesty’s Government’s interpretation, but in reality, the offer is derisory, offensive and after all this time, yes, cruel. I will absolutely be turning this offer for financial redress down.
“It’s just a terrible way to treat human beings – and I have heard from several sub-postmasters who have received similarly derisory offers, while others are still waiting.”
He said the offer had been made on Wednesday, 111 days after his claim – prepared with the help of forensic accountants engaged by his lawyers – had been submitted.
“I have been in the queue along with all the others in the scheme, but if my case is an example of the way they are going to treat all cases, we may as well start looking at a legal action again and let the judiciary decide.”
Mr Bates was among more than 500 people who received an average of about £20,000 after a High Court ruling in 2019.
A government spokesman told the Telegraph: “If any applicant to the GLO (Group Litigation Order) scheme feels that they are owed more than is being offered, we are happy to discuss the evidence with their legal advisers.
“If we can’t agree, decisions will be made by an independent panel that includes legal and accountancy experts, who ensure fair redress based on the evidence.”
Mr Bates vs The Post Office is available to watch on STV Player
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