Home Secretary Suella Braverman has reaffirmed her department’s commitment to the Windrush generation, whilst hosting her first formal meeting with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group.
It comes as new figures show that by the end of last year, more than £64 million in compensation had been paid or offered by the Home Office to those affected by the Windrush scandal.
Some 15,713 people have been helped to secure documentation confirming their right to be in the UK.
The Windrush Working Group was set up in June 2020 and brings together stakeholders and community leaders with senior representatives from several government departments.
The meeting today (24 January), which took place at 10 Downing Street, involved discussions on the operation of the Windrush Compensation Scheme, the Home Office’s progress in responding to the recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review and planning across government to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of MV Empire Windrush in June.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
A huge amount has been achieved in responding to and learning the lessons of Windrush and I’m delighted to have been able to host the Windrush Working Group – who have done so much to help shape the Home Office’s response.
The fact we have now offered or paid more than £64 million in compensation to those affected by the scandal is due in no small part to their tenacity and expertise.
I am committed to working with my co-chair Bishop Webley and the group’s other members to continue to drive the improvements this department must make.
The Home Secretary reiterated her commitment to ensure those affected receive the compensation they deserve and that the department she leads learns the lessons of Windrush.
Bishop Derek Webley, co-chair of the Windrush Working Group said:
The Home Secretary has made clear that she’s committed to working with us on these vitally important issues.
We will continue to ensure the voices of the community are heard and I’m confident our advice and constructive challenge will continue to have a positive and tangible impact.
We’ve worked hard to support and serve the interests of the Windrush generation, who have contributed so much to the life of this country, and we have made very good progress but we all recognise there is more to do.
The group has been integral to driving improvements to the Windrush Compensation Scheme, culminating in its overhaul in December 2020, when the minimum payment was raised from £250 to £10,000. This minimum award is now paid as a preliminary payment as soon as someone applying can demonstrate an impact on their life under the terms of the scheme.
It has advised on the design and delivery of the £500,000 Windrush Schemes Community Fund, which allowed community and grassroot organisations to bid for up to £25,000 to deliver projects encouraging applications to the Home Office’s documentation and compensation schemes. It also advised the department on a communications campaign with the same objectives.
And it has provided strategic input into the Home Office’s response to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review (WLLR), which was written by Wendy Williams and published in March 2019. In her follow-up progress report, published last March, Ms Williams concluded that 21 of her 30 recommendations had been met or partially met. The Home Office will be updating Parliament shortly on its progress in responding to all of the recommendations in the report.
Most recently, in October 2022, the Home Office established the Office for the Independent Examiner of Complaints (recommendation 25), offering customers of the department’s immigration services an opportunity to have their case reviewed independently if they remain unhappy with the outcome of a complaint.
Compensation Scheme Statistics
Today’s statistics show that £53.98 million had been paid out by the end of December 2022 across 1,417 claims. A further £10.09 million has been offered, awaiting acceptance, or pending review, taking the total amount paid or offered to more than £64 million.
The statistics also highlight a significant increase in the number of claims receiving a final decision during the calendar year 2022, at 1,485, compared to 873 in 2021.
Payments to date include some very significant sums. More than 200 people have been paid between £50,000 and £100,000 and over a dozen have been paid more than £200,000.