‘The Secret Windrush Files’: Is justice delayed, justice denied?
Whilst it is true that the Windrush compensation scheme finally took the first step in quantifying the losses incurred by victims of the Windrush scandal, we ask - is the current compensation scheme enough?
As outlined in our previous article, 'Windrush compensation scheme criticised as ineffective', Saunders Law pressed for the increased effectiveness of the compensation scheme in May of last year. Sadly, after the recent airing of the poignant BBC documentary, 'The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files', it appears government efforts in remedying the wrongs done to Windrush victims have fallen short, inexcusably short.
Not only have these victims been given false hope by a compensation scheme which does not appear to fully recognise the extent of the losses they have incurred over many years of uncertainty and hostility, but the delay in establishing an equitable compensation scheme further exacerbates the injustice they face. One MP, as quoted in a Guardian article, has called on the government to, "Scrap the caps and compensate them [the Windrush generation] properly for the wrongs that have been done to them." Further concerns have been expressed more recently in a leaked draft review into the Windrush scandal, alleging that the Home Office have been accused of being "reckless" in not recognising or monitoring the wider effects of it's hostile environment immigration policy.
It seems that the government has taken on board some concerns of the victims, MPs and lawyers with the Home Secretary Sajid Javid sending additional apology letters to a further 49 victims in June this year. Javid went a step further, promising support and access to the compensation scheme for all victims whose treatment has been "completely unacceptable." However, it seems that Mr Javid's promises of "support and access" to the scheme have not been substantiated or led to robust decision making. In the same Independent article, it has been reported that Home Office figures show that decisions in nearly one in five compensation scheme applications have taken longer than the two-week target, with lawyers commenting that for many applicants it has been months before outcomes have been reached. The scheme is therefore failing to provide redress in a timely fashion.
Watching the BBC's harrowing documentary, it was obvious that the plethora of continued and systemic failures by the government in reversing the trail left behind by the hostile environment policy has culminated in a bleak stagnation in 'no man's land' for many Windrush victims. Until the government recognises the complexity of losses faced by the Windrush generation and reflects this within a more equitable compensation scheme, justice for Windrush victims will continue to be delayed and inexcusably denied.
If you or a family member are part of the Windrush generation and feel you are being or have been wrongly threatened by deportation, you may have a civil claim or a claim under the compensation scheme and we recommend you contact our Civil Liberties team on 02076324300