The government has announced a new fixed sum payment for victims of the Post Office Horizon scandal in an effort to provide quicker compensation.
An award of £600,000 is on offer to the 86 postmasters who have had their convictions over turned after faulty Horizon software made it appear they were stealing.
Anyone who has proven they were falsely imprisoned as part of the scandal can take the payment instead of going through the full assessment of their loss. The only requirement is for the victim to prove they had their conviction overturned.
An inquiry into the scandal began last year and affected postmasters can apply for compensation.
But that process “can take time because these things are complicated”, business minister Kevin Hollinrake said in the Commons on Monday.
Mr Hollinrake added this is “a much quicker way to compensation”.
“If you think your claim is worth more than £600,000 then you can still go through the normal route.
“The good thing about this is because some people will inevitably take this route, it will take more people out of the queue so the full assessment will take less time as well. It’s a really win-win on every level for people who have suffered.”
Accepting the offer will avoid “months” of assessments and engaging lawyers, Mr Hollinrake said. Instead, it will be “a quick and easy process”.
How long the offer is open for has yet to be worked out by government.
Mr Hollinrake was asked, by Sarah Jones shadow minister for industry and decarbonisation, if compensation would be higher if victims go through the full scheme.
Many postmasters are yet to seek an overturning of their conviction. Hundreds of people are thought to have been wrongly been convicted.