By Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2707

Still no justice for Windrush scandal victims as compensation goes unpaid

This article is over 3 years, 10 months old
Issue 2707
A protest demanding justice for the Windrush generation
A protest demanding justice for the Windrush generation (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Only 60 people who applied for the Windrush Compensation Scheme have received any money, according to official figures.

The Home Office said it has paid £362,996 to 60 people—that’s fewer than 5 percent of those who have made claims.

Official data shows that 1,275 applications had been made by the end of March. The compensation fund has an estimated budget of at least £200 million.

The Home Office added that it has also made offers of approximately £280,000 which have yet to be accepted.

Some people risk dying before they get any compensation.

The fund was set up in the wake of the Windrush scandal.

This saw tens of thousands of migrants from Britain’s former colonies—and their descendants—face the threat of deportation or the loss of livelihoods.

It was the result of changes pushed through by then Tory home secretary Theresa May as part of the Immigration Act 2014.

May’s “hostile environment” meant that people who had lived in Britain for decades suddenly found they did not have the right documents to stay in the country.

The Immigration Act had turned employers, landlords and public services into border guards to make life harder for people.

An independent report published in March, Windrush Lessons Learned, was damning of the Tory government and Home Office.

It found that its treatment of Windrush migrants was “consistent with some elements” of institutional racism.

The compensation is vital for many people who fell into debt after being denied the right to work or claim benefits under the hostile environment.

Judy Griffiths came from Barbados and was caught in the Windrush scandal after losing her job. She previously described how, “Basically, I was told that I was an illegal immigrant, which was horror, shock, horror, shock, more horror, you know.”

She said, “I understand that they have to verify everything but I am still in arrears, still trying to keep my head above water, still getting calls from the council about the arrears.

“We’re still suffering and they don’t seem to understand how badly it has affected our lives.”

The scandal is another reminder of the racism at the heart of the Tories’ immigration policies and Britain’s immigration system.

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