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    Post Office IT scandal: Alan Bates sees ‘no end’

    Alan Bates, former sub postmaster leaves Portcullis House after attending the Business Select Committee on February 27, 2024 in London, England. Henry Staunton, former Post Office Chairman, faces questions from MPs on Tuesday amid a row with Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch over delays to sub-postmaster payouts. (Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images)

    Post Office is a “dead duck” and should be sold to Amazon for “£1”, Post Office IT scandal victim Alan Bates told MPs today (27) after revealing he still hasn’t received any compensation for Horizon scandal.

    Asked if the redress to hundreds of victims was getting faster or fairer, Bates told MPs on the Business and Trade Committee: “Speaking personally of my claim, I can say no, it isn’t. As far as I know it’s still sat there, we’ve refused it and that’s it. That’s where the process is in my case.”

    He added: “My personal view about Post Office is it’s a dead duck, and it has been for years, and it’s going to be a money pit for the taxpayer for years to come and you should sell it to someone like Amazon for £1.”

    Bates’ statement comes amid an ongoing row between ex-Post Office chair Henry Staunton and business secretary Kemi Badenoch over whether he was urged to delay compensation payments to allow the government to “hobble” to the next election.

    Staunton has insisted he was instructed to do so on a “nod and a wink” and that he has been the subsequent victim of a smear campaign. The former chairman was sacked in January 2024 following a disagreement with Badenoch.

    Staunton told MPs how he met a senior civil servant, Sarah Munby, in January last year to discuss challenges faced by the postal service, from “dysfunctional governments” to having a “loss making business”.

    When he explained it would take a “three- or five-year turnaround” for the Post Office to solve its problems, he claims Munby told him, “This is no time for long-term planning. Money is tight at the Treasury and you need to really understand that”.

    Staunton says he took this to mean he had to pull “one of three levers” to cut costs from either: the ongoing inquiry, compensation, or the Post Office’s planned replacement of the Horizon IT system.

    “She repeated ‘money is very tight, this is no time to rip off the band aid’ – I was left in no doubt that this was not a time to rip off the band aid, I’d have to look at those three levers,” he said.

    He told MPs, “We all know that things were moving far too slowly … and the reason why people have latched onto what I said in the Sunday Times was that finally someone was being honest about how deep seated the problems were and why nothing was being done,” he told MPs on the Business and Trade Committee.

    “I still think that more could be done, at least to make compensation more generous, and the process of getting justice less bureaucratic.

    “But I will at least have achieved something if the sunlight of disinfectant, which the Secretary of State so approves of, means that Government now lives up to its promises.

    “What the public wants to know is why was everything so slow? … And why does everything remain so slow? I’ve spoken up on matters of genuine public concern, have been fired, and am now subject to a smear campaign.”

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