Postmasters who have had their convictions overturned in the Horizon scandal are expected to receive up to £100,00 in interim compensation from the Government.
Ministers stated the move will ensure people affected by the scandal will not be left out of pocket as they and the Post Office move forward with full settlements for the “immense hardship” they have faced.
The Court of Appeal cleared 12 more former subpostmasters who had been wrongly convicted of offences earlier this week - the total number of overturned judgements has now reached 57 with hundreds more hoping for a similar decision.
Many postmasters were sacked or prosecuted between 1999 and 2015 after money appeared to have vanished from accounts at their respective branches.
This information came from the Horizon computer system used in Post Office branches which turned out to be flawed.
Some subpostmasters were imprisoned after being convicted of stealing money.
The Post Office is now contacting postmasters in order to offer an interim payment within 28 days of receiving an application from people whose overturned convictions depended on Horizon-based evidence.
Postal Affairs Minister Paul Scully said: “The suffering and distress these postmasters and their families have gone through cannot be overstated.
“While nothing will make up for the years of pain they faced after this appalling injustice, I hope this initial step provides a measure of comfort.
“The Post Office has started to turn a corner in terms of dealing with its past mistakes – and this Government will support them in doing so wherever possible.”
Post Office chief executive, Nick Read, said: “Ensuring compensation is made as quickly as possible is a priority for Post Office. I welcome the Government’s support to enable these interim payments that begin to provide some redress to people who were badly failed.
“Whilst we cannot change the past, this is an important step towards meaningful compensation for victims and we will offer payments as soon as possible.”