Windrush scandal: Hackney MPs condemn 'sheer scale of government failure'

Only 3 per cent of Windrush victims who claimed compensation have been been paid.

Hackney leaders have called out the government's "failure" to compensate victims of the Windrush Scandal - Credit: Archant

Hackney leaders have called out the Home Office's "shameful treatment" of Windrush victims after a damning report said its compensation scheme "compounded the injustices faced as a result of the Windrush Scandal". 

The scandal, which began to surface four years ago, saw many members of the Windrush generation and other commonwealth citizens detained, deported and denied legal rights despite having lived and worked in the UK for decades. 

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was set up in 2019 to remedy the wrongs borne out of the government's Hostile Environment Policies.

Two years later a Home Affairs Committee report has found the "vast majority of people who applied for compensation have yet to receive a penny".

MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, Meg Hillier, said: “We shouldn’t lose sight of the sheer scale of this government’s failure on Windrush."

Ms Hillier said the scheme is "riddled with the very same issues that led to the original crisis". 

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

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

The report found only 20 per cent of an estimated 15,000 eligible claimants had applied and only 5pc had received compensation. 

In addition, 23 people died before they could receive any compensation. 

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MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, stated: "The Windrush victims are still being shamefully treated by this government.

"Of course the victims don't trust the Home Office, which was the agency responsible for the illegal deportations and refusal of re-entry of people who had every right to be here. People lost jobs, livelihoods and homes and lives were ruined."

The report has called for the scheme to be transferred away from that agency to an independent organisation, a move Ms Abbott declared "long overdue". 

Diane Abbott speaks at a protest.

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Diane Abbott - Credit: PA

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Secretary and the department remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that members of the Windrush generation receive every penny of compensation that they are entitled to."

Adding: “We are pleased this report welcomes the changes made to the scheme in December and we continue to make improvements, such as simplifying the application process, hiring more caseworkers and removing the end date.

"We firmly believe that moving the operation of the scheme out of the Home Office would risk significantly delaying vital payments to those affected.”


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