Many constituents have contacted me about the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme is a vital way of ensuring people have access to the funds they need because of the huge wrongs they have endured. It is also an opportunity for those in power to show they have listened and acted.

Unfortunately, as of the end of September 2021, only 20% of the initially estimated 15,000 eligible claimants had applied to the scheme and only 5% had received compensation. At least 23 people died before they received any compensation for the hardship they endured at the hands of the Home Office.

The National Audit Office has said the scheme is “not meeting its objective of compensating claimants quickly”. The cross-party Home Affairs Committee also recently outlined a litany of flaws in the design and operation of the scheme, including “an excessive burden on claimants to provide documentary evidence of losses, long delays in processing, poor communication and inadequate staffing.”

The Opposition is calling for the Windrush Compensation Scheme to be moved into the hands of an independent body and away from the Home Office. This body must have the confidence of victims so as to restore faith in the process and to quickly get compensation to people who have been badly treated.

The Home Affairs Committee recommended that there should be immediate action to increase the number of people applying for the scheme and to ensure that every individual affected is granted compensation quickly. The committee also called for an increase in the general award tariff, access to legal assistance, an independent appeal process and greater support for community outreach work to increase confidence in the scheme.

Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central

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