Hackney MP Meg Hillier calls out 'bungled' Windrush compensation scheme

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier. Picture: Stefano Cagnoni

Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Meg Hillier - Credit: Stefano Cagnoni

Hackney South MP Meg Hillier has slammed the government's Windrush compensation scheme following a National Audit Office (NAO) report stating the scheme had not yet met its objective of compensating claimants quickly. 

In 2018, the Home Office acknowledged the harm caused by the department's "hostile environment" policies which saw members of the Windrush Generation, migrants who came from Caribbean countries to Britain following the Second World War, required to demonstrate lawful immigration statuses.

The policies led to British citizens being deported, threatened with deportation and denied access to vital services. 

As a result a compensation scheme was set up in 2019, yet over two years later it has "not yet met its objective", according to the NAO. 

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch and chairman of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “The Home Office continues to fail the Windrush generation with this bungled compensation scheme.

“Despite some progress in recent months, only a fraction of claimants have been paid."

The NAO found that just 10 percent of 1,033 claims received since March 2020 have reached the payment decision stages and it has taken an average of 177 days for claims to reach this stage. 

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Ms Hillier added: "The Windrush generation has been through enough - the Home Office must urgently make good on its promise to right these wrongs.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are determined to put right the terrible injustices faced by the Windrush generation by successive governments, which is why the Home Secretary overhauled the scheme in December [2020], and we are now seeing the positive impact of those changes."

The overhaul followed criticism over the complexity of the application process, the length of time taken for claimants to receive payment as well as the insufficient size of payments. 

Since, the department has introduced preliminary payments, increased "impact on life" payments and amended awards for loss of access to employment.

In March, more than £8million was paid in compensation, more than double the amount paid in the 20 months since the scheme launched. 

The spokesperson added: “We know there is more to do and will continue to work hard to ensure payments are made faster and the awards offered are greater.”

To read the report visit collateral.prmax.co.uk/collateral/179637.pdf

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