Hubert Howard: Lower Clapton Windrush victim dies without apology or compensation

Hubert Howard. Picture: Cllr Michael Desmond

Hubert Howard. Picture: Cllr Michael Desmond - Credit: Archant

A victim of the Windrush scandal from Lower Clapton died yesterday having received no compensation or apology.

The Gazette's story on Hubert Howard in 2012.

The Gazette's story on Hubert Howard in 2012. - Credit: Archant

Hubert Howard, 62, had finally been granted citizenship three weeks ago while in intensive care. It came 59 years after he arrived in London aged three.

Mr Howard went to school in Hackney, was given a national insurance number and lived in a council property.

He had two children and paid his taxes, but in 2005 discovered he had problems with his papers when his employers, housing association Peabody, asked him to prove his legal right to work.

The Home Office then told him they had no record of him and in 2009 Peabody found he had no legal right to be in the country and sacked him.

Hackney Downs ward Cllr Michael Desmond, who worked on Mr Howard's case for more than a decade, today paid tribute to him.

He said: "Hubert Howard was a Hackney Downs constituent of mine, he came to the UK from Jamaica in 1960, when he was three years old, but due to government inertia and complacency, had not formally become a British citizen.

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"I worked with him, trying to resolve his status, writing to the Home Office - who showed no interest in resolving the situation - and eventually putting him in touch with Amelia Gentleman, an award-winning Guardian journalist, who forcefully exposed the Windrush scandal and caused sufficient embarrassment to the government to force a rethink and apology.

"Hubert lost his job because of the problem with his status, was badly affected by cuts to legal aid and suffered from diabetes and leukaemia - but at all times remained stoic, family and community-oriented and positive, despite all the setbacks.

"We have lost a warm, engaging man who was faced with a Kafkaesque nightmare which was a disgrace to the country and shamed our government."

Speaking to the Gazette last year, Mr Howard blamed his illness on his situation. He said:" They've got to realise this thing made me very, very ill."

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