Politics

Payouts to one in five Windrush victims branded ‘disgraceful’


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ess than one in five of Windrush victims claiming compensation have received payouts, official figures suggest.

By the end of January, 1,867 claims had been submitted and a total of £4.1million in payments had been made to 338 people (18 per cent), according to the Home Office.

The figures also show 91 claims made through the scheme were for people who had already died, but only three had resulted in payments so far.

Appeals have been made against decisions in more than 200 cases, while 150 eligible applicants were told they were not entitled to any money because their claims did not demonstrate they had been adversely affected by the scandal.

There have also been 103 claims rejected on eligibility grounds.

Since April 2019, the scheme has offered victims more than £12m – £8m of which was offered within seven weeks since the scheme was overhauled in December.

But Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow home secretary, branded the low payout rate “disgraceful”, adding: “The Windrush Compensation Scheme isn’t worthy of the name.

Empire Windrush / SSPL via Getty Images

“The Government’s handling of this is heaping insult on top of injustice.

“The Home Secretary promised to take charge of this issue – this is yet another example of failure and incompetence.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday there was still more work to do to improve the compensation scheme and it was going to take time.

She told MPs: “It is absolutely taking time to build bridges, raise awareness and give people trust and confidence about the scheme and the ability to claim on the scheme – that is why we overhauled the compensation scheme in December.”

She said that “more people are coming forward” but “there is more work to do here”.

Victims of the Windrush scandal were promised bigger, quicker payouts following complaints of difficulties in claiming compensation.

Minimum payments have risen from £250 to £10,000 while the maximum has increased from £10,000 to £100,000.

Higher awards will be available for those in exceptional circumstances and the changes will apply retrospectively.

The scandal erupted in 2018 when British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, were wrongly detained, deported or threatened with deportation, despite having the right to live in Britain.

Many lost homes and jobs and were denied access to healthcare and benefits.



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