Priti Patel’s Home Office has a “litany of flaws”, according to MPs. Windrush victims have only been compensated for 5%. The scheme was established in the wake the scandal in which a generation was wrongly denied legal immigration status.
In the wake of Windrush, thousands of Commonwealth migrants arrived in Britain in the years following World War II. They were wrongly denied their rights and lost their jobs. In some cases, were even deported .
However, as of September 31, only 20.1% of 15,000 eligible claimants had made claims, just 5.8% of those who had been awarded any compensation had received payment, and 23 people had died before they were compensated.
The Commons Home Affairs Committee, which is cross-party, argued that the Home Office should be removed from responsibility for the scheme. Instead, an independent organization should be given to it to increase trust and encourage more applicants.
According to MPs, the scheme design contained the same “bureaucratic insensitivities” that caused the Windrush scandal. This was a “damning accusation of the Home Office”.
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The committee stated that successive governments and the Home Office had treated the Windrush generation with shame.
“No amount or compensation can ever compensate for the pain, humiliation, and fear that were caused to the individuals and communities.”
It was “deeply troubling,” that the Home Office handled claims in the same way as the Windrush scandal.
The committee reported that claimants were faced with a “daunting process”, “unreasonable requests to evidence” and “left in limbo amid inordinate delays”.
The MPs stated that injustice is often compounded, rather than being compensated. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.
Although the MPs welcomed the changes made in December 2020 to improve system, they felt that reforms were not sufficient.
Yvette Cooper, the Labour chair of the committee, stated that it had been four years since Windrush was discovered and that it was truly shocking to see how few people have been compensated for the hardships they suffered at the hands the Home Office.
“It is especially distressing that 23 people have died without any compensation.