Just one in 20 victims of the Windrush scandal eligible for compensation has received any payment, according to MPs.
The Commons home affairs committee found that as of the end of September, only 20.1 per cent of the initially estimated 15,000 eligible claimants had applied for compensation under the scheme. Only 5.8 per cent had received any payment and 23 individuals had died without receiving compensation, said the MPs.
The MPs called for the Home Office to be stripped of responsibility for the compensation scheme after alleging a “litany of flaws” in the way it operates.
The committee said that the scheme should be transferred to an independent organisation to increase trust and encourage more applications.
MPs said that the design of the scheme contained the same “bureaucratic insensitivities” that led to the Windrush scandal in the first place, which was a “damning indictment of the Home Office”.
Home Office under fire for handling of scheme
The scheme was set up to compensate members of the Windrush generation who were wrongly denied their lawful immigration status as a result of Home Office policies.
The committee said: “The treatment of the Windrush generation by successive governments and the Home Office was truly shameful. No amount of compensation could ever repay the fear, the humiliation and the hurt that was caused both to individuals and to communities affected.”
It was “deeply troubling” that the Home Office’s handling of claims “has repeated the same mistakes which led to the Windrush scandal in the first place”.
Claimants face a “daunting application process”, “unreasonable requests for evidence” and were “left in limbo in the midst of inordinate delays”, the committee’s report said.
“Too often, injustice has been compounded rather than compensated,” the MPs said. “This is unacceptable and must not continue.”
The MPs welcomed changes introduced in December 2020 to improve the system, but said that the reforms had not gone far enough.
Yvette Cooper, the chairman of the committee, said: “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 23 individuals have died without receiving any compensation. Urgent action is needed to get compensation to those who have been so badly wronged.”
She said it was “staggering, given the failures of the Windrush scandal, that the Home Office has allowed some of the same problems to affect the Windrush Compensation Scheme too”.
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( Information from telegraph.co.uk was used in this report. To Read More, click here )