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Windrush scandal: Only 5% of victims have received compensation, the report said

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In recent years, the British government has been harshly criticized for treating immigrants who traveled across the Atlantic on the Empire Windrush passenger line and their descendants. Some of the individuals who have a legal right to live in the UK have struggled to prove their immigration status and have been denied medical care, denied housing and deported or threatened with deportation.

A new sentencing report from the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs, published Wednesday, said the scheme, created in 2019, had “become a source of further trauma rather than correction, and others have been pushed by application for the scheme entirely. ”

By the end of September, only 20.1% of the estimated 15,000 people expected to qualify for compensation had applied and only 5.8% of claimants had received a payment, the cross-party committee found. Deputies also found that 23 qualified individuals had died before receiving compensation.

The committee report said the scheme was plagued by a “flaw lit” with an “excessive burden” for applicants to provide evidence of losses incurred, protracted applications and payment processing, insufficient scheme staff and failure to provide extraordinary payments to individuals. in urgent need.

UK vows to correct 'indescribable injustices' of Windrush immigration scandal

The report found that instead of correcting past ill-treatment, the scheme had “aggravated the injustices” faced by people. He acknowledged reforms introduced last December to speed up payments, but said the changes had not gone far enough. The committee recommended further action, suggesting that the scheme – currently under Home Secretary Priti Patel – be transferred to an independent organization to rebuild trust and strengthen applications.

“The treatment of the Windrush generation by successive governments was really shameful,” lawmakers said in the report. “No amount of compensation can ever return the fear, humiliation, injury and hardship caused to the individuals affected.”

The committee added: “That the design and operation of this scheme contained the same bureaucratic insensitivity that led to the Windrush scandal in the first place is a damn indictment of the Home Office and suggests the culture change it promised in the wake of the scandal has not yet occurred.”

The chairwoman of the commission, Yvette Cooper, a member of the opposition Labor Party, said: “It has been four years since the Windrush scandal broke out and it is truly shocking how few people have received any compensation for the hardships they endured at the hands of the Home Office. .

“Urgent action is needed to get compensation for those who have done so badly,” she added.

The UK Government apologizes for the 18 Windrush victims criticized as

Cooper went on to say that she found it “surprising, given the failures of the Windrush Scandal, that the Home Office has allowed some of the same problems to affect the Windrush compensation scheme as well”.

Alba Kapoor, senior policy officer at The Runnymede Trust, reacted to the publication of the report in a Twitter post by the think tank on racial equality, asking: “How many more deaths will there be before the horrors of the Windrush scandal? addressed to a competent body. compassionately and supportively? “

The organization said in a subsequent post that it supported the committee’s recommendation to transfer responsibility for the scheme to an independent body.

“The figures speak for themselves to highlight the inability of the Home Office to address its catastrophic failures,” he added.

Following the release of the report, a Home Office spokesman said in a statement to CNN: “The Secretary of the Interior and the department remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring that members of the Windrush generation receive every penny they deserve.

“The Secretary of the Interior revised the scheme in December to ensure that more money is paid faster – since then the amount of compensation paid has increased from less than 3 million to over 31.6 million, with another 5.6 million offered. there is no limit to the amount of compensation we will pay.

“We are pleased that this report welcomes the changes made to the scheme in December and we continue to make improvements, such as simplifying the application process, hiring more case staff and removing the completion date. We strongly believe that “Shifting the scheme operation outside the Home Office would risk significantly delaying vital payments for those affected.”

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2/ https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/24/uk/windrush-uk-government-compensation-scheme-intl/index.html

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