A father who ended up homeless because he could not prove his right to work in the UK has described his experience with the Windrush scandal compensation scheme as “worse than hell”.

Fitzroy Maynard said he had been unable to get work for around a decade after losing his job as a residential caretaker in 2007.

Having come from Antigua as a child in 1980 and later worked in the UK for years, he found himself sofa-surfing.

This was due to him being unable to prove to prospective employers that he had the right to work in the UK as he lacked the relevant documentation.

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Becoming tearful as he recalled his desperate situation, the 57-year-old said: “It’s been worse than hell.

“Just imagine you have no money, you have no food, you have nowhere to sleep, you’re freezing, you’re in the same clothes for weeks, you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Mr Maynard said he had been offered some compensation by the Home Office but none to cover his loss of access to employment “because they can’t see a reason why it was their fault”.

He said: “I’m not claiming for losing my job, I’m claiming for loss of access to employment after I lost my job.

“They really think either people can’t read or we are stupid.

“I’m fed up with the behaviour because they know exactly what they’re doing.”

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Mr Maynard said he is determined to fight for what he is entitled to and insisted anyone using the scheme needs the support of a legal professional.

He said: “They keep on saying people do not need a lawyer to do this (but) people need a lawyer.”

Mr Maynard lives in Hackney and now works as a part-time handyman at the same time as being a full-time carer for his eight-year-old daughter.

He said he has mixed feelings about this year's celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the Windrush's arrival in the UK, and the arrival of immigrants from Commonwealth countries, some of whom later faced problems such as his own.

He said: “This celebration has only come because of misery to people.

“They (the Government) are only starting to recognise it because they have done lots of bad and they’re trying to make it right.”

Human rights charity Praxis, which has helped Mr Maynard and others, said the compensation scheme “only adds serious insult to serious injury” for victims of the scandal, and called on it to be made independent from the Home Office.

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Praxis chief executive Sally Daghlian said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the department that shredded thousands of lives is now failing at compensating its victims for the hardship they had to endure.

“The compensation scheme should be removed from the hands of the Home Office and managed by an independent body working closely with the communities affected, providing a simplified and speedy process with expert, independent representation available for claimants.”

Lawyer Jacqueline McKenzie, who has helped people claim compensation through the scheme, said “people don’t have faith in the system” due to their poor experiences with the Home Office.

She said: “They’re saying ‘we’re being retraumatised - the process of actually making a claim is retraumatising us’.”

The Home Office said it continues to listen and respond to feedback to ensure the scheme is operating effectively for all.

A spokesperson said: “We continue to make improvements so people receive the maximum award as quickly as possible.

“This includes establishing a review process for those dissatisfied with their compensation offer.

“However, we know there is more to do, and will work tirelessly to make sure such an injustice is never repeated.”

Reporting by PA.