Former Post Office boss claims he was informed to ‘stall’ compensation | Politics | News | EUROtoday

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Former Post Office chairman Henry Staunton claims he was informed to “stall” compensation pay outs for subpostmasters due to the overall election.

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Staunton claims a senior civil servant made the request. Something the Government has this morning denied.

Mr Staunton left his position as chairman final month after Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch stated there was a necessity for “new leadership” to full tackle the Horizon IT scandal that noticed tons of of former Post Office staff wrongfully prosecuted.

Mr Staunton, who took up the position in December 2022 following 9 years as chairman of WH Smith, prompt that the alleged request was linked to considerations about the price of compensation heading into the election.

He informed the Sunday Times newspaper: “Early on, I was told by a fairly senior person to stall on spend on compensation and on the replacement of Horizon, and to limp, in quotation marks – I did a file note on it – limp into the election.

“It was not an anti-postmaster thing, it was just straight financials. I didn’t ask, because I said ‘I’m having no part of it – I’m not here to limp into the election, it’s not the right thing to do by postmasters’.

“The word ‘limp’ gives you a snapshot of where they were.”

The scandal has been pushed into the general public eye by a significant ITV drama into the lengthy authorized battle by subpostmasters to get justice.

But many, together with main campaigner Alan Bates, have complained about pointless delays to victims in receiving compensation.

A Government spokesperson stated: “We utterly refute these allegations.

“The Government has sped up compensation to victims, and consistently encouraged postmasters to come forward with their claims.

“To suggest any actions or conversations happened to the contrary is incorrect. In fact, upon appointment, Mr Staunton was set concrete objectives, in writing, to focus on reaching settlements with claimants – clear evidence of the Government’s intent.

“The Secretary of State asked Henry Staunton to step down as chairman of the Post Office because a change in leadership was needed.”

More than 700 department managers have been prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015 after defective Horizon accounting software program made it look as if cash was lacking from their retailers.

Hundreds of subpostmasters and subpostmistresses are nonetheless awaiting compensation regardless of the Government asserting that those that have had convictions quashed are eligible for £600,000 payouts.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak additionally introduced blanket laws to exonerate these wrongly prosecuted within the wake of public outcry.