Gill Furniss MP Labour Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Paul Scully MP
Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
29 April 2022
Re: compensation for victims of the Post Office Horizon IT scandal
I am writing in regard to the latest developments in the Horizon IT scandal.
I specifically want to raise the issue of compensation for the 555 subpostmasters who so bravely took their fight to the High Court in 2019. As you are aware, despite their leading role in uncovering this huge injustice, they have received only £20,000 each. This is a drop in the ocean compared to all they have lost.
I note the commitment made by the Chancellor that a compensation scheme would be launched in the coming months to fix this injustice. This is of course welcome, but I am concerned by the ongoing delays in getting this up and running. As Alan Bates has said, people are desperate for this compensation to be paid. It is deeply saddening that dozens of victims have died without seeing justice.
Therefore, when will a timetable for the introduction of this scheme be published? And when do you expect compensation will start to be paid out?
Furthermore, you have previously stated that money could be recovered from senior Post Office staff at the time of the scandal and from Fujitsu to help fund the scheme. Please can you provide further details of what steps you intend to take to pursue this? It is so important that those responsible are held to account for the lives they have destroyed.
On another point, this scandal shows how dysfunctional the senior leadership within the Post Office has become. It is imperative that everything be done to prevent another catastrophic miscarriage of justice on this scale, and fix the broken system within the Post Office. Of course, many individuals involved have since left their positions. However, I urge you to look carefully at the reforms necessary to ensure the problems leading to the Horizon scandal are addressed.
The ongoing public inquiry led by Sir Wyn Williams will of course play a huge role in determining these reforms. However, it is important that the Government does not use this as an opportunity to kick the can down the road when reforms are needed urgently.
No amount of money will ever undo the pain and suffering that this scandal has put so many victims through. It will, however, allow people to begin to rebuild their livelihoods, and I look forward to hearing details of when this money will finally be made available.
Gill Furniss MP
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Shadow Minister for Roads