Advertisement
Social Justice

Priti Patel threatened with legal action if she doesn’t give up control of Windrush compensation scheme

Just five per cent of Windrush victims eligible for compensation have received a payout.

Priti Patel is facing legal action if the Home Office does not hand over control of the widely-criticised Windrush compensation scheme to an independent body.

The home secretary has been given until December 23 to relinquish control of the scheme or face further legal action, the Independent reports.

Just five per cent of the estimated 15,000 people eligible for compensation had received a penny by September – four years after the Windrush scandal.

The Good Law Project and campaign group Windrush Lives are asking Patel to appoint an independent body to run the scheme, and have sent her a pre-action protocol letter.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

Support us

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work.

Jo Maugham, director of Good Law Project, said: “The evidence is that the Home Office can’t be trusted to mark its own homework. The Home Affairs Committee has said what Windrush victims have said all along: the scheme has to be handed over to an independent organisation if it is to work.”

Alongside the two organisations sending the letter, three Windrush claimants are also expected to join the legal case if the deadline is not met. Paul Akers-Smith and Anthony Williams have received only the £10,000 preliminary award, while the letter says Carl Nwazota, who has received nothing so far, tried to take his own life because of the impact of the Windrush scandal.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Ramya Jaidev from Windrush Lives described the process as: “The same grotesque, systemically racist bureaucracy that selected Windrush migrants and their descendants for removal, for political ends. “

Last month, a group of MPs joined the calls for the scheme to be made independent, saying the fact the scheme is run by the department which caused the scandal is undermining confidence.

Yvette Cooper, the Home Affairs select committee’s chair, said: “It is staggering, given the failures of the Windrush scandal, that the Home Office has allowed some of the same problems to affect the Windrush compensation scheme too.”

Break the cycle of poverty for good
Big Futures is calling on the Government to put in place a plan and policies to break this cycle of poverty for good. We are calling for long-term solutions to meet the biggest issues faced in the UK today – the housing crisis, low wages and the climate crisis. Dealing with these issues will help the UK to protect the environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of future generations. So that young people and future generations have a fair shot at life. Join us and demand a better future.

A total of four official reports have criticised the Home Office’s handling of the scheme.

A report by human rights charity Justice said fear and mistrust of the department was stopping victims claiming compensation.

Another report found that the scheme is so convoluted that victims need legal advice – and are having to hand lawyers up to a third of their eventual compensation.

Patrick Vernon, a campaigner who led the Windrush Day campaign and has gathered over 130,000 signatures on his Fix the Windrush compensation scheme petition, has previously called for Priti Patel to recognise the anger at the scheme.

“The community has made it very clear we don’t trust the Home Office to manage the scheme. The home secretary now needs to do the right thing and start the process of finding a new agency to manage it so confidence can be restored and justice given,” he told The Big Issue.

“It’s imperative – too many people have died without receiving compensation.”

As of September, a total of 23 Windrush victims had died before receiving any compensation.

The Home Office has argued that making the scheme independent would risk delaying payments.

The Big Issue has approached the Home Office for comment.

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Christmas

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Christmas.

Recommended for you

Read All
All the cost of living help available from the government, energy companies, councils and charities
Cost of living crisis

All the cost of living help available from the government, energy companies, councils and charities

National protests to take place demanding government action on soaring energy bills
Cost of living crisis

National protests to take place demanding government action on soaring energy bills

What is a warm bank and why are they needed this winter?
Cost of living crisis

What is a warm bank and why are they needed this winter?

What is fuel poverty? The causes, statistics and solutions in the UK
Cost of living crisis

What is fuel poverty? The causes, statistics and solutions in the UK

Most Popular

Read All
Here's when and where nurses are going on strike
1.

Here's when and where nurses are going on strike

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'
2.

Pattie Boyd: 'I was with The Beatles and everything was fabulous'

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment
3.

Here's when people will get the additional cost of living payment

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways
4.

Why do people hate Matt Hancock? Oh, let us count the ways