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Post Office Redress

Volume 747: debated on Wednesday 13 March 2024

As the House knows, the Post Office Horizon IT scandal that began in the late 1990s has had severe impacts on the lives of the postmasters affected.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 10 January, the Government have today introduced the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill. The Bill defines a clear set of criteria for those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal, and individuals in scope will have their conviction quashed. This is to be followed by swift financial redress delivered by the Department for Business and Trade.

The Government also announced in January this year that they would offer optional fixed-sum payments of £75,000 to postmasters in the group litigation order. Today, the Government have announced that they will extend this policy 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.

It is the Government’s priority to take swift action to ensure affected postmasters receive full and fair financial redress with little administrative burden. That is why the Government will ensure that no income tax, capital gains tax, national insurance contributions, corporation tax or inheritance tax is payable on compensation to be paid to postmasters whose convictions are overturned by the upcoming legislation or by those who benefit from a £75,000 fixed sum payment on the Horizon shortfall scheme.

The Government will legislate via secondary legislation to exempt these payments in due course.