I am not quite sure why it seems that it is only me looking at these numbers – glad to hear from anybody who can point me to another sceptic.
So let us look back at some numbers covering the last 5 years of NT.
The purpose of NT was to reduce the annual government subsidy provided to maintain the network at its current size. That means in 2011 there were about 11,500 branches and in 2015 there were still about 11,500 branches. Those branches were still selling the same products less of course the ones that were lost such as DVLA and NS&I.
Therefore the administration overhead would be the same so the only cost saving that NT could produce would be a reduction in the remuneration paid to subpostmasters plus a reduction in the crown office losses.
By 2015 they had converted 4097 branches and sold off 47 Crown Branches.
(As an aside as I look at these numbers I have just realised that there is a average of over 10 crown employees per branch! )
Luckily for comparison purposes POL revenue for 2011 is roughly equal to 2015 at +/- £975m
So £1.345b later – subpostmaster costs have reduced by a mere £38m – some might call this a success BUT there is more to the story than that. Since 2011 POL have lost a significant number of contracts.
Take for example the DVLA contract – in one year 2013/14 alone POL lost £22m in revenue from the DVLA. Surely at least £10m of that would be attributable to SPMR costs?
And then there is the product mix – While overall revenue is much the same a fall in income from Mails, Telecoms, and Government Services is matched by a rise in Financial Services products which by and large are not sold through the greater part of the network. So the effect of that would be to reduce SPMR pay further.
POL of course do not provide the breakdown to show what proportion of the reduced SPMR costs are down to the effects of NT but they ARE NOT £38m – they are much much less.
But of course one of the key elements of this that has gone unnoticed is that the majority of those offices that chose to convert to Main Style branches did so on the basis that due to increased Transaction Payments they would stand to benefit from conversion. It is extremely likely that all being equal had NT not taken place at all that subpostmaster costs would actually be far less than currently stated.
This is an appalling situation and one that needs an independent auditor to assess.