MP And Celebrities Demand Home Office Pays Compensation To Windrush Scandal Victims
Labour MP Marsha De Cordova has written to the Home Office demanding compensation pay for victims of the Windrush scandal as delays have meant that a number of people have died without justice.
De Cordova has the backing of a number of high profile figures insisting that the government speeds up the process, including Little Mix singer and founder of Black Fund Leigh-Anne Pinnock, celebrity chef and musician Levi Roots, music artist Cashh, Lord Simon Wooley, and music artist and actress Paigey Cakey.
The Windrush generation arrived to the UK between the late 1940s and the early 1970s and were granted British citizenship as part of efforts to rebuild the UK following World War Two.
In 2018 it emerged that under then Home Secretary Theresa May, the Home Office had been deporting, and even withholding healthcare, from thousands of "Windrush" citizens as it rolled out measures to create a hostile environment on immigration.
The government has since issued an apology, and pledged to compensate victims - however the system has been plagued with delays, and thousands are still waiting for their claims to be processed.
Statistics produced by Human Rights Watch in January revealed that as of January 2023, only 12.8% of the estimated 11,500 eligible claimants have received compensation.
According to immigration minister Robert Jenrick 41 claimants have died so far waiting for compensation.
De Cordova told PoliticsHome the contributions the Windrush generation had made on the UK were "profound" and tackling the issue is vital as the UK marks the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving on British shores.
In her letter to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, she said the government must fulfil its commitment to "righting the wrongs of Windrush" by establishing a time limit for Windrush compensation claims to be processed, and publish a national strategy that could involve passing the issue to an independent body that "understands the needs and experiences of communities affected by the scandal".
The letter also said signatories would like to meet with the government "to discuss the range of policy recommendations made by organisations, legal experts and civil society groups who have first-hand experience of working with the Windrush generation".
De Cordova told PoliticsHome: "The government must urgently act to right the wrongs through setting a clear 'time limit target' for handling Windrush compensation claims and a reformed national strategy that includes steps to hand over the process to an independent body."
L’myah Sherae, CEO of Enact Equality and founder of this campaign, told PoliticsHome there are "Black communities across the UK who are still experiencing ongoing harm caused by the actions of the UK Home Office".
"That is why so many of us, from a variety of different professions, age groups and sectors, have joined together to collectively state that the ongoing harm can no longer continue," said Sherae.
"We want the Home Office to act now, to set clear time limit targets for handling compensation claims, and to take steps to hand over the scheme to an independent body.
"The Windrush Generation must receive the compensation they deserve."
Little Mix singer Pinnock told PoliticsHome the "trauma" Windrush scandal victims had suffered with "difficult to begin to process".
"The trauma people faced, and continue to face, as a result of the Windrush Scandal is difficult to begin to process, and it’s something we shouldn’t ever accept as normal," she added.
"Every person impacted deserves the compensation they are owed for what they went through, and humanity is at its best when we stand together and speak up for justice."
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