Fighting for Fair Compensation
Speaking in Parliament following a ministerial statement on a revised compensation scheme I recently raised the case of one constituent who has yet to receive a penny in compensation after she and her late mother were falsely accused of theft.
Addressing the Chambers I said, “The Minister will be aware of the plight of my constituent Myra, who jointly ran a post office with her mum. They begged and borrowed £70,000 from friends and families to fill a shortfall that they could not understand, but which we now know—and the Post Office probably knew at the time—was not a shortfall at all. They lost their jobs, lost their home and were branded thieves and liars. Myra’s mum did not live to see her name cleared. Myra was not allowed to claim under the historical shortfall scheme.”
I called on the Minister to make sure none of the victims lost out on compensation just because of the way the rules were worded:
“Does the Minister agree that no matter how carefully the criteria for any compensation scheme are drawn, there will always be people who do not fit those criteria? Will he ensure that there is a catch-all clause in the compensation scheme so that nobody but nobody is left without the compensation for which they have waited far too long?”
Thousands of innocent people were falsely accused of theft. The only so-called evidence against them came from an accounting system that senior management at the Post Office knew, or should have known, didn’t work. It’s right that the ones who were prosecuted and in many cases wrongly sent to jail should get compensation but Myra’s case is just one example where lives were ruined without any criminal charges being brought. They were bullied, almost blackmailed into giving up their post office and they suffered the humiliation of being branded as criminals despite having done nothing wrong. They and many others have been kept waiting far to long for proper compensation for the appalling way they were treated by the Post Office.