THE Government is to compensate hundreds of subpostmasters - including one from Barrow - who helped expose the Horizon IT scandal but lost out after seeing their compensation payments swallowed up in legal fees.

Isabella Wall, 70, became one of the hundreds of postmasters and postmistresses to fall victim to the scheme when she lost tens of thousands of pounds and was left jobless in 2017.

Mrs Wall, who worked for 23 years at the former Bowness Road post office, says she was bullied and intimidated by security staff after money started to go missing from her office’s online records in 2010 and she was told to ‘make good’ on the deficits herself.

Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell said: "This is a really positive step for those many people, like Isabella Wall from Barrow, who have lost so much due to the Post Office's decision to cover up their own failings.

"I was in the Chamber as the Minister announced the scheme - I'd like to see fair compensation and speedy interim payments and will continue to push for this. Too many people have waited too long to get to this point."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said ministers will be setting out details of the scheme in the coming months to ensure the subpostmasters receive the same level of recompense as others wrongly accused of financial crimes due to the faulty software.

The group of 555 subpostmasters brought the case which resulted in a landmark High Court ruling in 2019, paving the way for millions of pounds in future payouts and which led to the Court of Appeal quashing a series of wrongful criminal convictions.

But, because of a "no win, no fee" agreement with their legal funders, Therium, they received only a fraction of the £43 million they were awarded - about £20,000 each.

At the same time, they found they were ineligible to apply to the Historical Shortfall Scheme (HSS) which was set up to by the Post Office to compensate those who had to personally cover shortfalls in their branch's accounts due to the problems with Horizon.

The Treasury said the new scheme would ensure the 555 would see the same level of compensation as those who claimed through the HSS.