No pay­outs in 95% of claims for Win­drush

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Michael Knowles Home Af­fairs Correspond­ent

JUST 60 peo­ple have had pay­ments from the Gov­ern­ment’s Win­drush com­pen­sa­tion scheme, the Home Of­fice has con­firmed.

Of­fi­cials have only paid out £360,000 to five per cent of claimants dur­ing the first 12 months – de­spite an es­ti­mated £200mil­lion be­ing set aside for pay­outs.

Lawyers fear the com­plex process could lead to many miss­ing out as they will not be able to show how the dev­as­tat­ing scan­dal has im­pacted their lives.

A scathing re­port by Wendy Wil­liams, the in­de­pen­dent re­viewer of the scan­dal, ac­cused the Home Of­fice of in­sti­tu­tional ig­no­rance and thought­less­ness over race.

The Win­drush scan­dal erupted in 2018 af­ter Caribbean na­tion­als granted the right to stay in the UK who had been here for years, were de­ported or lost ac­cess to pub­lic ser­vices un­der an im­mi­gra­tion clam­p­down.

More than 160 peo­ple were mis­tak­enly de­tained or re­moved from the coun­try, and sent back to coun­tries they had left as chil­dren decades ear­lier.

The Home Of­fice said a fur­ther £280,000 of com­pen­sa­tion had been of­fered to claimants, but not yet paid, pos­si­bly be­cause ap­pli­cants felt the of­fer did not re­flect the ex­tent of their dif­fi­cul­ties. By the end of March, 1,275 peo­ple had ap­plied for com­pen­sa­tion. Win­drush cam­paigner Pa­trick Ver­non said of the low amount: “Fail­ure again by the Home Of­fice. We need the com­pen­sa­tion scheme man­aged by an­other agency.” Lawyer Jac­que­line McKen­zie, of the Cen­tre for Mi­gra­tion Ad­vice and Re­search, said: “This is dis­ap­point­ing but not sur­pris­ing. Claims re­quire an enor­mous amount of work backed by ev­i­dence. “One woman wrongly made to leave the UK and brought back by the Gov­ern­ment is still wait­ing for an of­fer two years on and af­ter sev­eral let­ters re­quir­ing yet more ev­i­dence.”

Lib­eral Demo­crat MP Layla Mo­ran said: “The Prime Min­is­ter needs to make a full apol­ogy to those who con­tinue to be treated so shab­bily.”

Home Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel said: “The Win­drush com­pen­sa­tion scheme has been de­vel­oped to ease the bur­den from the un­ac­cept­able mis­treat­ment some have faced, which is why it is so im­por­tant peo­ple come for­ward.”

Pic­ture: AN­DREW PARSONS

Bur­den...Home Sec­re­tary Priti Pa­tel

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