Javid: Windrush citizens will not get interim compensation

4 Jul 18

The government will not provide interim funding for Windrush citizens while it consults on a compensation scheme, the home secretary has confirmed today.

Making interim payments to those who need immediate financial support would “undermine” the long term compensation process, Sajid Javid said in a letter to the chair of the home affairs committee Yvette Cooper, published by the Home Office. 

Cooper’s committee had urged Javid to “immediately establish a hardship fund for those in acute financial difficulty” in a report published in June.

The group of MPs report Windrush: the need for a hardship fund raised concerns that people from the Windrush generation faced “destitution, [were] unable to settle legal bills or facing bailiffs due to debts run up when they were forced to give up work or had their social security payments stopped, through no fault of their own. ”

It said: “They cannot wait many months for consultations to be concluded on the design and scope of the compensation scheme” and asked for victims to receive financial support immediately.

The consultation on the Windrush compensation scheme started on 10 May and ended on 8 June.

Javid’s letter to Cooper said: “The compensation package is an important element of how we make amends to those who have suffered.

“But it is naturally complex, and we must make sure that we get it right and properly listen to those affected before taking decisions about its design.

“Making interim compensation payments now would undermine that process.”

Javid noted that the department has set up a Windrush Taskforce to help confirm the status and residence of people from the Windrush generation and arrange access to benefits and documentation.

The announcement comes just one day after another home affairs committee report The Windrush Generation called for more action including an appeals process for rejected Windrush cases and reinforced calls for a hardship fund. The report also praised the work of the Windrush Taskforce so far.

The committee called for “root and branch reform” of the Home Office’s culture, policy and approach to immigration.

Commenting on the report, Cooper anticipated a failure to provide interim funding and said: “It is very troubling that the Home Office appears to have already rejected our proposals for a hardship fund.

“Those who have been wronged by the British government should not have to struggle with debts while they are waiting for the compensation scheme being up and running.”

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