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Home Office “failing Windrush generation again” in compensation scheme

27 July 2021

In its report published today the Public Accounts Committee says despite the Home Office’s “promise to learn lessons” it is failing the Windrush generation all over again in the compensation scheme and “still risks seeming indifferent to the impact it has had on people’s lives” – a problem the Committee has repeatedly noted about Home Office  immigration enforcement strategies and practice.  “The Department has ambitious plans to change its culture, but there are still giant steps to take.”

The Committee says the “fundamental problems” in the scheme’s design and implementation are “coming home to roost”. Too complex and difficult for people who were affected to engage with, the Home Office also “failed to launch the scheme with adequate capacity to run it, and has played catch-up ever since”. Some people have died before their claims were dealt with, and two years after its launch only 412 of the 2,367 claims submitted have received their final payment. 

The Home Office “made the wrong key assumptions” in the scheme and significantly underestimated the complexity and work involved in the claims.

The Committee says “it is encouraging to hear the Department admit to some of its mistakes with the scheme, but it should not have taken two years to reach this point. There is an urgent need to make good on promises to right the wrongs for those who suffered.”

Dame Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Public Accounts Committee said:

“Let’s not lose sight of the scale of wrongs that the Home Office has promised to right here. Lifetimes in this country were discounted, people’s homes, families and livelihoods were interrupted and uprooted, some were forced from the country. Some were approaching the end of those lifetimes as this tragedy befell them. Some have died without ever seeing justice or receiving the compensation they deserve.

Far from learning and applying lessons as promised, the Windrush compensation scheme is beset with the very same issues that led to the initial terrible mistakes.” 

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