Windrush compensation must be paid to victims NOW

Windrush compensation must be paid to victims NOW

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!


Recent events demonstrate the urgent need to address systemic racism in this country.  One piece of that jigsaw is to redress the injustice experienced by the Windrush victims.

Between 2012 – 2017 it was deliberate Government policy to create a hostile environment for illegal immigrants; in practice thousands of legitimate BAME citizens who arrived here as children from the Caribbean in 1960s and 1970s were classified as being here illegally.  Without a legal right to live in this country, they lost their jobs, and they had no right to receive unemployment benefits, NHS treatment, social housing, or to have a passport – so their lives were torn apart.   They could not prove they were here legitimately partly because the Home Office had, in 2010, destroyed the Landing cards completed on their arrival.

The experience of Anthony Bryan (one of the people deemed illegally here) is dramatised in ‘Sitting in Limbo’ which was screened on BBC1 on 8th June 2020 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p08g29ff/sitting-in-limbo); and you can read more about individual experiences in ‘The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment’ by Amelia Gentleman (published by Guardian Faber).  Overall, 850 people were wrongly detained, 83 people were deported and at least 13 people died before the Home Office acknowledged their mistake in April 2018. 

Since then over 8,000 people have been given documents confirming they are here legally; and the Home Office set up the Windrush compensation scheme in April 2019.  Whilst no amount of money can recompense for what they experienced, financial reparation is one way for us to help them rebuild their lives and to demonstrate practically that we recognise the unjust way they were treated.  Yet the scheme is problematic and may re-victimise those who have already suffered. The application process is complex and lengthy, there is little specialist support to help; and of the potential claimants, 1275 people had applied by the end of March and of the only 60 people have received any payment, the amounts most received were small, potentially around £4,400.   

By signing this petition, we are asking Priti Patel, Home Secretary, to:

1. Review whether the compensation payments offered are proportionate to the suffering experienced
2. Fund advice services to assist applicants to apply  (in the same way that money was allocated to fund organisations to help EU nationals to apply for settled status)
3. Ensure all compensation claims are processed within 3 months of receipt
4. Ensure all applications for review of awards are processed within 2 months