Dear Colleague – Post Office Horizon – compensation for Postmasters

I reproduce the latest from the Post Office  Minister to speed up compensation. I have urged the government to get on with this.

Dear Colleague,

Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill: House of Commons Introduction

Since the 2019 Group Litigation High Court case, the Government has been working hard to right the wrongs of the Post Office Horizon scandal, which began in the 1990s. The Government has been processing full, fair and final claims for financial redress as quickly as possible. The Horizon Shortfall Scheme, which was set up in 2020, has paid out £107 million, and initial offers have been made to all of the main group of claimants. The Group Litigation Order scheme, launched last year, has paid out £34 million, which includes interim payments. For those postmasters whose convictions were overturned by the courts, £38 million has been paid, and since October last year, claimants have been able to access £600,000 in a fixed sum award. This is part of our plan to tackle the Horizon scandal, one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history.

On 10 January, the Prime Minister announced a major step forward in response to the Horizon scandal. He confirmed that the Government would introduce new primary legislation to make sure that those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal, are swiftly exonerated and compensated. I am pleased to announce that the Bill, to deliver on this commitment,
will be introduced to the House of Commons today.

The Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill sets out a clear set of objective criteria which identifies the convictions which are in scope. Individuals whose convictions meet the criteria will have these convictions automatically quashed at Royal Assent, without any action on their part. Records such as the Police National Computer will be amended and individuals will be notified and invited to apply for financial redress. Only if we do not already have information about their convictions will individuals need to act to have their records updated.

All convictions within scope will be quashed on Royal Assent whether or not we have identified the individual at that point.
The legislation will apply on an England and Wales only basis. We have been working closely with colleagues in the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to progress their own approaches to quashing convictions and wish to see equitable outcomes for postmasters delivered across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The Government recognises the constitutional sensitivity and unprecedented nature of this legislation. The Government is clear that given the factually exceptional nature of the scandal, this legislation does not set a precedent for the future relationship between the
executive, Parliament and the judiciary. The judiciary and the courts have dealt swiftly with the cases before them, but the scale and circumstances of this prosecutorial misconduct demand an exceptional response. We are keen to ensure that the legislation achieves its goal of bringing prompt justice to all of those who were wrongfully convicted as a result of the scandal, followed by rapid financial redress.

With the will of both Houses of Parliament, it is the Government’s intention that the Bill will secure Royal Assent as soon as possible before Summer Recess.

Financial redress for those with quashed convictions

Financial redress is not in scope of this legislation, however once this legislation has been passed, we will provide a route to full, fair and rapid financial redress for quashed convictions. This will be paid on the same basis across the UK, regardless of where or how
the conviction was quashed. I am also pleased to confirm that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury will be introducing secondary legislation to ensure the monies received are exempt from tax.

I am pleased to also confirm that this new scheme will be delivered by the Department for Business and Trade, rather than the Post Office. My officials and I are engaging with the Horizon Compensation Advisory Board and claimant representatives on the design of the scheme. Those whose convictions are overturned will be able to choose between accepting a fixed sum award of £600,000, which will be paid quickly, or having their losses individually assessed.

I can confirm that Post Office have started work on preparing for disclosure of documents they hold on claimants. Whilst I recognise concerns around Post Office involvement and I am keen to keep it to a minimum, given the data Post Office hold there is a need for them to be involved in disclosure.

Progress on existing financial redress schemes

For the Group Litigation Order scheme, we are mindful that claims are not being submitted as swiftly as we would like, so it is taking us too long to get help to claimants. To remedy that, at least in part, I can announce that we will top up compensation to £50,000 on receipt of a full claim if the claimant has not opted for the fixed sum award of £75,000. If an initial offer is not accepted and independent facilitation is then entered, we have committed to paying postmasters 80% of the initial offer, to help ensure that claimants do not face hardship while those discussions are completed.

In January, the Government announced that it would introduce an offer of an optional £75,000 fixed sum award for participants in the Group Litigation Order scheme. The fixed offer means that claims are dealt with promptly, and some people will get more than they asked for. The fixed offer also has had a helpful effect on other claims – it substantially reduces the effort to be invested in small claims by claimants’ lawyers, making more resource available to progress larger claims quickly. I am therefore pleased to announce
today that this policy will be extended to the Horizon Shortfall Scheme to ensure equal treatment across the schemes. Those who have already settled their claim below £75,000 will be offered a top-up to bring their total redress to this amount. Over 2,000 postmasters
will benefit from these top-ups.

We will work closely with the Post Office to ensure these payments can be made as early as possible. The Financial Secretary will be introducing legislation to ensure these further payments are made exempt from tax.

For postmasters whose convictions were overturned by the courts, they can now top up their interim payment to £450,000. Of course, if they have opted for the £600,000 fixed sum award, they will get that instead. This Government is continuing to work hard to right the wrongs of the past and ensure swift exoneration and financial redress for victims of this scandal.

Yours ever,


Minister for Enterprise, Markets, and Small Business
Department for Business and Trade


  1. Lynn Atkinson
    March 14, 2024

    Why have there been no Corporate Manslaughter cases? There needs to be to ensure that there is a disincentive for similar entities across the board.

    1. Hope
      March 14, 2024

      JR, what is clear you ought to not trust a word Hollinrake says or write. After his claim it would be a good use of our taxes to pay for criminals to leave the country after entering it illegally.

      What does he or you think was the purpose for the legislation last year to make sure Illegal boat people had no status or right to claim to stay here? Then according to Hollinrake thinks it a good use of our taxes to pay them/bribe them £3,000 to go to Rwanda.

      I believe the UK govt. should deport all those foreigners who commit crime here, enter here illegally or unable to support themselves and be a tax benefit. If your govt. supports Hollinrake’s statement then it makes all those ministers who support it are deliberately deceiving the public like it did with repeated claims it would cut immigration to tens of thousands over 14 years. Please explain to us why Hollinrake or your govt. would entertain such a notion to abuse and waste our taxes while at a 70 year high.

      1. graham1946
        March 15, 2024

        It’s worse than the 3000 bribe. As I understand it they will continue to get free board and lodging for 5 years in Rwanda instead of here. There seems to be nothing to stop them leaving there and coming here again for another go in the future – I doubt any system the government imposes would be water tight. Anyway, it doesn’t look likely to happen. If they really meant it they would have sorted it out by now – they imposed covid laws to lock people in their home quick enough.

    2. Ignoramus
      March 14, 2024

      On a completely different point. It has been reported that Mr Trump is proposing to stop funding Ukraine and pull out of NATO when we have a mobilised Russian war machine on the borders of Europe?

      Why is nobody talking about this?

      1. Peter Gardner
        March 15, 2024

        That threat is being hyped up all the time!

        1. Hope
          March 15, 2024

          Good for Trump. Another sound view to make the world wake up.

          If it stops the proxy war for regime change of Putin. Ukraine is of no strategic or national interest to UK. If the EU want to March to the Urals with Cameron singing their tune let him and his children be the first to loose life or limb for no purpose. The west should not have marched east, not broke Minsk Agreement and kept Ukraine a neutral buffer between east and west. Why would Russia want or allow expansion of EU and NATO to its border? They were repeatedly warned and the west repeatedly broke its word.

          Do not listen to Shapps propaganda and do not vote for war mongering fools. Afghanistan achieved what? Iraq?Libya? Failed states with mass immigration?

          1. graham1946
            March 15, 2024

            What did we do when Russia moved its empire west? Did we invade another nearby country and bomb the hell out of it? Russia did not need to do that, other than because they had no confidence in their own forces to stop NATO. Now he has proved he cannot even finish off another smaller country, let alone NATO. Why do you support the war criminal Putin? Once a criminal gets away with something his behaviour becomes worse. He is already threatening to use nuclear weapons as he gets more desperate to end this conflict. In that case Cameron and his children will not need to go to the front line, it will come to us via the air.

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        March 15, 2024

        If we had not attacked Russia, there would be no ‘mobilised Russia war machine’. The propagandists have to make up their minds, either Russia is a ‘gas station pretending to be a country’ or it’s a massive ‘war machine’. They can’t have it both ways.

        Putin has said that he has no interest even in western Ukraine, much less in the diabolical, collapsing EU. But Russia will defend itself. Surely we knew that?

        1. graham1946
          March 15, 2024

          When did we attack Russia? Putin is a war criminal and a liar. Why believe this? He has now proved that his ‘massive war machine’ is not all he thought it was and cannot even subdue a smaller country after years of trying. If Ukraine had kept its armaments he would not have dared. We promised to protect Ukraine if they disarmed and we broke that promise.

          1. Hope
            March 16, 2024

            There are lots of horrible people in the world and the UK trades with them and visit them ie Saudi Arabia, China, India etc. Putin is horrible, but the promotion of war in Ukraine has no purpose other than regime change of Putin. No it is not worth the cost.

            This govt, under Sunak, gave away N.Ireland and our sovereign independence to the EU against what we voted for, without a cross word let alone a shot, tank, missile! We voted leave the EU as a vassal state. Sunak betrayed the nation to sell out our country to act in lock step with EU.

            G, wake up. Do not believe propaganda look at the facts.

      3. Ignoramus
        March 16, 2024

        Wow didn’t realise there were so many Putin fans on this site.

        Quite shocked.

    3. Mike Wilson
      March 14, 2024

      Why are there no investigations and prosecutions for perverting the course of justice.

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        March 15, 2024

        We need to see Justice being done! Else we are confirmed in our observation that the U.K. is no longer under the Rule of Law.

      2. graham1946
        March 15, 2024

        It may come yet, although they are trying hard to de-fuse it, time expire it and bury it. If not it will be the usual story of too many people at the top with too much knowledge of where the bodies are buried to allow it to take its course.

  2. Delphine Gray-Fisk
    March 14, 2024

    All very well – but no mention of Fujitzu footing; so just us taxpayers’ yet again?!

    1. Hope
      March 14, 2024

      I think Lynne is right,
      The post office chiefs should be arrested for corporate manslaughter, misconduct in public office. Unfortunately ministers made themselves immune from their deliberate wrongful actions. Should politicians like Ed Davey be able to be a candidate for parliament?

      Again, what of the gene therapy deaths and injuries? Will all those advisors be investigated, withdraw from WHO investigate where it was a bio weapon, did it leak from a Chinese lab, who funded it, why countries were shut down, why experts targeted by govt intel services and smeared if they dared question orthodoxy of lock downs, face masks etc.- after all it was against WHO policies! Our tax funded expansive inquiry is not even interested and of absolute no use to the public interest whatsoever.

      Afghanistan was an unmitigated disaster for loss of life and limb as well as billions, if not trillions, of taxpayers money. What was the country like 25 years ago and what did the sacrifice achieve? Same for Iraq and Libya?

  3. Mickey Taking
    March 14, 2024

    A detailed list of steps available to attempt to deal with the shocking position postmasters found themselves in.
    However, why has this only been provided when the Bill is at last introduced?
    Surely many of the solutions on offer could have been available earlier?

  4. agricola
    March 14, 2024

    For me it is impossible to comment on levels of compensation offered or on the level of harm that the Post Office, aided and abetted by Fujitsu, have inflicted on so many of their subpostmasters.

    So when it comes to financial compensation err on the generous side, rather than what those in the treasury would like it held to.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      Why did the judges and legal system fail so appallingly surely they are mainly to blame. They are not supposed to convict people when there was reasonable doubt. In these cases the evidence was really non existent. Just the number allegedly gone rogue was reasonable doubt!

    2. Hope
      March 14, 2024

      What value for a persons life who commits suicide through shame because the allegation is against their core values? These people must have known something was wrong when there was little or no problem before the computer programme. They knew computers could be accessed remotely from post offices. Now those in charge need to be investigated, prosecuted and jailed as well as compensation. Giving back undeserved awards, or ministers not knowing their job or deliberately turning a blind eye is not good enough. Time for ministers to be accountable under law, immunity must end.

      Why are we taxpayers paying for minister Michelle Donnelon’s conduct? Why has she not lost her ministerial post and lost the whip? Please explain JR.

  5. Roy Grainger
    March 14, 2024

    So it takes a TV programme to spur the Conservatives into action and override ongoing court proceeding ? Despite what the minister says this absolutely does create a precedent.

  6. Lifelogic
    March 14, 2024

    Well they can only access the £600K if they give up their rights to sue for more – in our isually random lottery courts with risks of vast legal costs and possible appeals even if you wine. Note £600k is less than 60 chargeable hours for many of the lawyers who brought these zero evidence prosecutions. Why is it that lawyers can get away with such rip off fees? Most are not even very bright. Look at the sick joke Covid Inquiry for evidence!

    1. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      But of course junior doctors on £2,400 PCM take home less rent on a small room £1000, council tax £700, student loan interest £540, commuting £160 = 0 left for food, heat, light, water, lunches fun! Yet the moronic health minister (a lawyer paid about £160K PA says they are well paid & even complains they are on strike!

      1. Lifelogic
        March 14, 2024

        MPs to get a rise to £91,000 PA it seems. Plus they get their commuting tax free on expenses, better pensions, very generous expenses, with subsidised restaurants, creche and bars and need have no 6 years degree, no student debt, no qualifications and can even be as daft as Corbyn, Dianne Abbot, David Lammy, Angelor Raynor, Thangham Debonaire … unlike junior doctors on £34K in London less in other places. Plus they can take so called “consultancy income” (often rather more like crony capitalism or bribes alas hard to explain net zero or the net harm vaccines without this),

        Clearly JR is well worth 91K and more but 80% of them would struggle to earn much more than £25K in the private sector.

        1. Hope
          March 14, 2024

          Part time unqualified role.

      2. Peter Parsons
        March 15, 2024

        More LL figures that don’t add up.

        Nobody pays £700pcm council tax for a room. The average for a Band H property is less than half that (£344pcm).

        To pay £540pcm in student loan repayments/tax (charged at 9% above a minimum income level), a person will be earning almost £100k per year (£540 is 9% of £6,000, so £72k pa of income on which to be charged for a student loan above the minimum threshold to be making such a payment).

        Someone on close to £100k takes home a lot more than £2,400pcm.

        Using the MoneySavingExpert tax calculator, someone on exactly £100k pa will pay £545pcm in student loan repayments and take home £5,042 pcm (minus any pension contributions).

  7. Nigl
    March 14, 2024

    Utterly appalling. The government should hang its head in shame.

    Nothing but foot dragging and denial (whistle blower sacked and gagged) until shamed by a tv programme.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 14, 2024

      +1 Was ever thus

    2. Berkshire Alan
      March 16, 2024

      Not just this Government, 10 years of Labour in control, plus the 14 years of Conservatives (Joint with the LibDems for 5 years) !
      So all three main Party’s failed, which shows just how out of touch all of them were with reality.
      As far as compensation goes, what do you value for lost reputation, trust, embarrassment, as well as lost Job opportunities (with the sigma that you are dishonest) and then Jail time, bankruptcy, and family break up for some.
      For the worst cases I would suggest at least £2,000,000 then work out the rest from there.
      Fujitsu also culpable, no more government contracts until they have paid for their part in this disgraceful cover up !.

  8. Bloke
    March 14, 2024

    The use of a blunt instrument risks those whose convictions were correct being exonerated with the innocents, and possibly even resulting in the guilty being ‘compensated’.

  9. iain gill
    March 14, 2024

    Kevin is a joke, all this time he has been a minister supposedly dealing with freelancers, the whole freelance sector, and yet he doesnt understand the basics of freelancing.

  10. Will in Hampshire
    March 14, 2024

    I see that the Financial Times is reporting that the Prime Minister has ruled out a General Election in May. I wonder if our host would care to comment on the timing of the forthcoming election.

    Reply I suggest November

    1. Berkshire Alan
      March 15, 2024


      Yep, not before another Budget, because the last one was certainly not an election Budget !

  11. Peter Gardner
    March 15, 2024

    Thank you for publishing the Minister’s letter. Most people would like to see some punishment of the negligent and severe punishment of those acting deliberately and wrongly to blame, to criminalise and to punish the innocent. Is there any hope of that? Resignations are not enough.

  12. Andrea Lee
    March 16, 2024

    unbelievable that it took a television programme for this govt. to move.

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