Fewer than 40 people of 1,000 claimants have received Windrush compensation, 10 months after the scheme’s launch, the Home Office has revealed.
A two-year extension to the claims deadline, until April 2023, has been announced in response to the lack of progress.
The Home Office has paid out a total of just £62,198 to 36 people so far – just over three per cent of claimants – out of a compensation pot that may rise to £600million.
Many people claimants have lost jobs and homes, were denied benefits or healthcare, and were detained or deported as a result of the government’s “hostile environment” created by then-Home Secretary Theresa May.
The government apologised for the mistake in April 2018 – and the Home Office confirmed this week that 12,000 people have been provided with documentation confirming their status so far.
One claimant won £100,000. Many payments made so far are interim payments, which means people will likely receive more at a later date.
The home secretary, Priti Patel, said: “By listening to feedback from community leaders and those affected, we have begun to put right the wrongs caused to a generation who have contributed so much to our country.
“The Windrush Compensation Scheme has been developed to ease the burden from the unacceptable mistreatment some have faced, which is why it is so important that people continue to come forward.”
Streatham MP Bell Rebeiro-Addy, the shadow immigration minister, said it was disappointing that so few people have received payments. “It is good that the scheme has been extended but there are people who are still destitute after what happened to them. They need to access support quickly.”
The Commonwealth Citizens’ Taskforce and the Windrush Compensation Scheme are now running a series of online engagement events, to ensure those affected continue to claim.
The Home Office will shortly launch a separate £500k fund for grassroots organisations to promote the Windrush Schemes and provide advice services.
Anyone unhappy with their offer can request a free internal review. If they still do not agree with the outcome, the claimant can request a further review the Independent Adjudicator.
The criteria by which cash settlements are made has been altered to take a wider range of circumstances into account – for example, claimants no longer have to show they took immediate steps to resolve their immigration status.
Citizens Advice, funded by the Home Office, are continuing to provide free, independent claimant assistance during the pandemic for those wishing to apply to the Compensation Scheme. This can be accessed by referral through the Windrush Helpline: 0800 678 1925.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.