Post Office campaigner Alan Bates turns down 'cruel and derisory' government payout offer for Horizon scandal

1 February 2024, 05:52

Alan Bates has turned down his compensation offer
Alan Bates has turned down his compensation offer. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Alan Bates has turned down a "derisory" offer of compensation from the government for being caught up in the Post Office Horizon scandal.

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Mr Bates, one of the key campaigners that led to the Horizon scandal being pushed into the public eye, and whose fight inspired a recent TV drama, said the offer was "cruel".

The former sub-postmaster was forced to leave his branch in 2003, and like hundreds of others, was falsely accused of stealing money from the Post Office.

The government confirmed plans for "full and fair compensation" to sub-postmasters caught up in the IT scandal in 2022.

But Mr Bates said the compensation offer had been "around a sixth" of what he asked for.

Read more: Post Office chairman sacked by Business Sec Badenoch after 'rows' in wake of public outcry of Horizon scandal

Read more: Met to lead nationwide probe into Post Office Horizon Scandal, Commissioner tells LBC

Alan Bates
Alan Bates. Picture: Alamy

He told the Telegraph: "'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 subpostmasters who have received similarly derisory offers, while others are still waiting."

He said the offer had been made on Wednesday, 111 days after he had made his claim, which was prepared with the help of forensic accountants.

"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."

Expert: There's something 'cult like' about the Post Office

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 said: "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."

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