Carmichael highlights ongoing Post Office culture problems following Horizon scandal

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today raised the ongoing problems of culture and poor treatment of victims of the Horizon accounting software scandal during an Urgent Question in Parliament. Mr Carmichael highlighted concerns that people affected by the scandal seeking compensation may not be receiving a just settlement due to the way that the Historic Shortfall Scheme (HSS) has been administrated.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“The handling by the Post Office of the Historic Shortfall Scheme has been nothing short of another scandal of itself. I recently was part of what I can only assume was ironically titled a “good faith meeting” where the Post Office themselves were not represented. They only had a lawyer from Herbert Smith Freehills. At the end of it they said that “if you want to take this further then the offer we have made could be withdrawn”.

“That is the way in which the Post Office is approaching this, it’s still the same culture that caused the problems in the first place. My more recent meeting was a bit more promising but it’s clear that anyone who has settled under that HSS has probably not had a just settlement. It needs to be looked at by the minister and his department.”

Responding for the government, Paul Scully MP said:

“We certainly will look at it. We want to encourage things like the alternative dispute resolution so that we don’t have a prolonged process going through the courts again – we want to get this sorted out quickly but we don’t want to be getting it wrong, so I will certainly look at it and keep their feet to the fire.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“I am glad that the minister is taking these issues seriously but we do need to get the balance right between seeing justice done quickly and justice done correctly. From the experience I have had working with those affected by the Horizon scandal I am concerned that we still have not got that right – people must have full compensation and fair treatment, not the bare minimum the Post Office thinks it can get away with.”

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