'Don't boycott post office' says Louth post mistress
More than 983 postmasters were convicted by the Post Office after a faulty Horizon IT programme wrongly made it appear that money was missing from Post Office accounts.
The public inquiry into the affair resumes today (Thursday) and follows an announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who told the House of Commons on Wednesday that those previously convicted in England and Wales would be cleared of wrongdoing and compensated under a new law.
In addition Paula Vennells – the former Post Office chief executive depicted in the ITV mini-series – has handed back her CBE after a petition gathered more than one million signatures following the ITV drama Mr Bates v the Post Office, which was aired last week, shed light on the 20-year fight for justice that hundreds of sub-postmasters have endured, including Hogsthorpe’s sub-postmaster (read the full story here).
Many people have pledged to boycott the post office ever since, but Louth’s post mistress Hannah Watkins has urged people to show their support by continuing to use their post office as if customers boycott their local branches, it could see their closure.
Hannah said that many of their customers have been talking about the scandal and asking if it has affected them in the Louth post office, and many have said they will boycott the post office now.
"We still need the public’s support, and it will be a shame if people’s urge to support the post office will have the opposite effect and see the closure of their local offices because of a boycott.
"People are so outraged that they want to show their support by boycotting, that’s the feedback we’re getting.”
So far, this month Hannah said the post office, on Northgate, has been very quiet, but couldn’t say if this was just because January is usually a quiet month, or because of the documentary shining a light on the scandal.
"We do hope it’s not people thinking they won’t use the post office now because they’ve lost trust.
“We really want people to come in and use us for anything they need – that’s the way to support us.”
Louth’s post office offers a huge variety of services, including passport and drivers license applications, a range of banking services including cash and cheque deposits and access to savings accounts, money withdrawals, Amazon parcel collection and sending, mailing, gifts, cards, stationary, and more.
Louth’s post office is open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and then 9am to 1pm on Saturdays.