Priti Patel makes statement on Windrush compensation scheme
23 June 2020
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel made a statement on the Windrush compensation scheme.
The 22 June (Windrush Day) 2020 marked the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of the Empire Windrush.
Those on-board left their homes in the Caribbean to build a new life in the UK and helped the country rebuild after WWII.
Priti Patel: "those who suffered receive the documentation and compensation they need"
Home Secretary, Priti Patel says "when Britain was in need they [Windrush generation] answered the call".
She went on to say that "they were the very people who went on to suffer unspeakable injustices and institutional failings spanning successive governments over several decades".
She said that she has apologised "for the appalling treatment suffered by the Windrush generation".
Referring to the Windrush: Lessons Learned Review by Wendy Williams, Priti Patel said "there are serious and significant lessons for the Home Office to learn in relation to the way the Department operates".
She told the House that she would keep them updated on the progress of implementing the recommendations from the review and that she will discuss the plans with Wendy Williams this week.
She went on to comment on reforms to the Home Office:
"I and the permenant secretary are currently reviewing its leadership, its culture, the practices and the way it views and treats all part of the community it serves.
"These reforms are only the start."
She says that the Department have been "working tirelessly to support the most urgent cases and those most in need".
The Home Office task force was opened in April 2018. It was set up "to ensure those who needed documentation immediately could get it".
A month later "the Windrush scheme was launched providing free citizenship to those who are eligible for it".
The Home Secretary told the House that the Home Office has "a dedicated vulnerable persons team in place to provide immediate support to those people suffering with a range of vulnerabilities" including "financial hardships".
The team "administers the urgent and exceptional payment scheme which provides immediate financial payments".
Until the end of March 2020, they have administered 35 payments totalling over £46,000.
She said "work is continuing" to ensure "those who suffered receive the documentation and compensation they need".
Nick Thomas-Symonds: "the rate of progress is just too slow"
Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds celebrated "the enormous contribution the Windrush generation and their families have made".
He said "the many who made new lives here did not get the welcome they were expecting. Many faced appalling racism and were locked out of jobs and homes and were subject to terrible abuse in the streets".
Nick went on to say addressing injustice "begins at the door at the Home Office, with the appalling mistreatment of the Windrush generation".
He said that "the Windrush scandal is a cause of national shame" and the Lessons Learned review is a "damning indictment".
He told the House that the review has 30 recommendations. One calls on the Home Office to "develop a clear purpose mission and values statement rooted in fairness, humanity, diversity and inclusion".
He said it is "shocking that it took a scandal on this scale to bring such core failings to light".
He went on to say that the Government's Windrush compensation scheme "managed to compensate just 60 people in its first year of operation" and that "the rate of progress is just too slow".
"The anniversary of Windrush is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the Windrush generation.
But whilst injustices persist, this is not enough."
Find out more
- Watch Parliament TV: Windrush statement
- Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.