Subscribe to The Big Issue
Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.
Justice, a human rights charity, said earlier this month that fear and mistrust of the department was stopping victims from claiming compensation, and called for control of the scheme to be taken away from the department.
In July, the Public Accounts Committee said the scheme was failing the Windrush generation with the understaffed scheme, which was “beset with the very same issues that led to the initial terrible mistakes.”
In May, the National Audit Office found victims were being compensated too slowly, and were not being encouraged to come forward, blaming – again – a lack of trust and confidence in the Home Office.
Break the cycle of poverty for good
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.
Speaking after the release of this most recent report, Cooper added: “It has been four years since the Windrush scandal emerged and it is truly shocking how few people have received any compensation for the hardship they endured at the hands of the Home Office.
“It is particularly distressing that twenty-three individuals have died without receiving any compensation. Urgent action is needed to get compensation to those who have been so badly wronged.”
Patrick Vernon, who led the successful Windrush Day campaign, has gathered more than 110,000 signatures for his Fix the Windrush Compensation Scheme petition.
Responding to the Justice report, he told The Big Issue: “This builds on the concerns raised over the last few years by campaigners, lawyers and victims about the inappropriateness of the Home Office running the scheme.
“Ultimately it’s about Priti Patel now recognising this. The community has made it very clear we don’t trust the Home Office to manage the scheme. The home secretary now needs to do the right thing and start the process of finding a new agency to manage it so confidence can be restored and justice given.
“It’s imperative – too many people have died without receiving compensation.”
The Home Office said it had already simplified the claims process and brought in new support measures for those claiming on behalf of relatives who have died. The scheduled end date for the scheme has also been removed and more caseworkers are being hired.
A spokesperson said: “The home secretary has been resolute in her determination to ensure everyone affected by the Windrush scandal receives the full compensation to which they are entitled.
“We are pleased this report welcomes the significant improvements we have made to the scheme, including its overhaul last December. Since then the amount of compensation paid has risen from less than £3million to over £31.6m, with a further £5.6m having been offered.
“Many of the issues raised in this report are already being addressed and several recommendations have previously been considered.
“For example, we continue to firmly believe that moving the operation of the scheme out of the Home Office would risk significantly delaying vital payments to those affected. However, we are always open to making further improvements and will reflect carefully on the report’s findings.”