Windrush: Victims face unacceptable delays for compensation says Labour

Windrush: Victims face unacceptable delays for compensation says Labour

The Windrush compensation scheme is “too slow”, Labour has said after a BBC Freedom of Information request revealed that at least nine people had died before receiving money.

The Windrush scandal saw deportation threats made to the children of Commonwealth citizens.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said targets were needed to deal with “unacceptable delays”

Tory Andrew Bowie said the government “hoped to speed up the process”.

Speaking to the BBC’s Politics Live programme, the Conservative Party vice chairman said the government was “committed to righting the wrongs” of the scandal and added that £2.8m had already been paid out in compensation.

In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mr Thomas-Symonds accused the government of “failing to provide sufficient compensation” to Windrush victims and said delayed payments were “especially concerning” given the age of many of the victims.

He described Ms Patel’s previous promise to ensure everyone got the maximum compensation to which they were entitled as “empty words”.

“The Windrush scandal is a shameful episode for our country, so an efficient and well-resourced compensation scheme, that gives due recognition in awards to the hardship caused, is the very least people and their families who have been mistreated deserve,” he said.

He asked the government to introduce targeted time limits on the issuing of compensation; offer reassurance that additional resources had been put into the scheme; and provide a breakdown of the number of compensation offers accepted and rejected.

The Windrush compensation scheme was launched in 2018 after it was revealed that people had been told they were in the UK illegally despite having lived and worked in the country for decades.

In some cases this led to people being detained or losing their jobs.

The scheme was set up to compensate victims for loss of earning and periods of detention.

Payments range from £250 for a minor inconvenience (level 1) to more than £10,000 for a profound and likely irreversible impact (level 6). The figures are correct as of 31 August.

More than 1,500 claims have been made using the scheme, with 250 being offered payments in the level 6 category.

Home Office figures, released to the BBC under Freedom of Information laws, show that in addition to people dying before they receive any money, fewer than five people have been offered the level 6 payment.

Glenda Ceasar, has lived in the UK since she was six months old and worked for the NHS for 20 years.

In 2009 she lost her job as a GP’s practitioner as she didn’t have the paperwork to prove she could legally work in the UK.

Asked about the compensation process she told the BBC: “It’s stressful, it’s long, it’s tiring and the whole process of doing the compensation form is something you cannot do by yourself, you definitely need legal help.

“It’s such a straightforward thing, but they make it so complicated and turn it into something which is causing a lot of anxiety to people and some people give up.”

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