Windrush: More than £8m offered or paid as compensation to scandal victims

More than £8m has been offered or paid as compensation to victims of the Windrush scandal, the Home Office has said.

The department released new figures on Thursday, a day after previous statistics revealed around 17% of Windrush victims who had made compensation claims had received payouts.

According to those figures, a total of 1,761 claims were lodged by the end of December 2020, with 303 people receiving compensation totalling £2,869,068.16.

Eighty-four of the claims were for people who had already died, but only three payments for this particular kind of case have been recorded.

There had been appeals lodged against the decisions in more than 180 instances, while a further 144 eligible people were told they were not entitled to a payout because they could not demonstrate they had been adversely affected.

A total of 101 claims were rejected on eligibility grounds, the figures showed.

On Thursday, the Home Office said “significant changes” to the compensation scheme made in December had seen an extra £4.5m offered to victims since then.

According to provisional figures, a further 238 offers have been made. Up to the end of November 2020, £3.7m had been paid or offered as compensation, the Home Office said.

“I am really pleased the changes we introduced to the scheme are having immediate impact, with more people receiving significantly higher payments, much more quickly,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.

“The figures today show real progress and we must now keep up that momentum to help many more people get the compensation they deserve.”

The government promised victims of the scandal they would be able to access bigger and quicker payouts, after those affected reported difficulties in claiming compensation and criticised the system for its complicated and onerous nature.

Minimum payments have gone up from £250 to £10,000, with the maximum payout upped from £10,000 to £100,000.

Higher compensation awards have also been made available in exceptional circumstances, with all of the changes applying retrospectively.

The Home Office said that the new minimum award of £10,000 in the “Impact on Life” category will be paid early, provided someone applying on behalf of themselves or a deceased relative, can demonstrate an impact on their life, no longer meaning they have to wait for their application to be assessed in full.

The Windrush scandal emerged in 2018 when it was found that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights, despite having the right to live in Britain.

Under the hostile environment legislation, announced in 2012 under then home secretary Theresa May, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government aimed to push out undocumented migrants.

But many of the Windrush generation, who arrived in the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1973, had arrived as children on their parents’ passports and the Home Office had destroyed thousands of landing cards and other documents.

As a result, many legal migrants struggled to prove they had the right to live in the UK under the new legislation, with some losing access to housing, healthcare and bank accounts.

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