Lords marks 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation
10 July 2023
On Friday 7 July, members of the House of Lords debated the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush.
Lord Murray of Blidworth (Conservative), Minister for Migration & Borders and the Windrush Compensation Scheme, put forward the debate.
This was a general debate. During debates, members put their experience to good use to discuss current issues and draw the government's attention to concerns.
Members speaking in the debate included:
- Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), broadcaster and chair of the Windrush Commemoration Committee
- Baroness Berridge (Conservative), former executive committee member of the UK Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
- Lord Davies of Brixton (Labour), former member of the Greater London Council
- Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick (Crossbench), president of UK Community Foundations and former commissioner for Racial Equality.
Opening the debate, Lord Murray said:
'The people who arrived in Britain that June day 75 years ago, and in the months and years that followed, are an essential part of our national story. In so doing, they played an invaluable role in rebuilding our country and public services in the aftermath of the Second World War. They were, as His Majesty the King put it so aptly, “pioneers”.'
Baroness Benjamin said:
'I am part of that lived Windrush experience, because I came to England in 1960 as a 10 year-old, travelling from Trinidad by ship...Proud, I stood just a few feet away from where the National Windrush Monument now stands. Who would have thought? This is why I say to children and young people, “Never give up, always keep hope in your heart”.'
Baroness Scott of Bybrook (Conservative), Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Faith and Communities, responded on behalf of the government.
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Members previously debated the preparations for the 75th anniversary. Opening the debate on 19 January, Baroness Benjamin praised the contribution of the British Caribbean people who came to the UK in 1948:
'Many British Caribbean people relocated to Britain as pioneers in 1948, loyally and courageously answering the call to come and rebuild the country after the Second World War. The thousands who followed up until 1973 also showed bravery, resilience, dignity, pride and fortitude, despite facing rejection, humiliation, violence and hatred.'
Baroness Benjamin previously pressed the government on the Windrush Compensation Scheme. Watch on YouTube:
Baroness Berridge also asked the government about plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary, in Lords questions on 24 May. Responding on behalf of the government, Baroness Scott said:
'[The government is] increasing this year’s Windrush Day grant scheme from £500,000 to £750,000 to mark the 75th anniversary, with funds aimed at commemorating, celebrating and educating people about the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants.'
Watch and read the debate
Explore background information
Find out more about the issues the debate covers in the House of Lords Library briefing.
Learn more about how the House of Lords checks and challenges government.
Image: Wikimedia Commons