23 June 2020

Windrush review recommendations to be implemented in full, Home Secretary says

23 June 2020

All 30 recommendations of the review into the Windrush Scandal will be implemented by the Government, the Home Secretary has confirmed.

Priti Patel who has previously publicly apologised for failings by the Home Office, said she will be speaking this week to the report’s author, Wendy Williams, about realising the Lessons Learned Review recommendations in full.

In a Commons statement, Ms Patel said: “I was clear when Wendy Williams published her Lessons Learned Review that I would listen and I would act.

“I have heard what she has said and I will be accepting the recommendations she has made in full.

“I am committed to ensuring that the Home Office delivers for each part of the community it serves and I will come back to update the House on how we will be implementing the recommendations before the summer recess.”

I will do all I can to make sure that more people are helped and more people are compensated in full

She added: “My determination to right the wrongs and the injustices suffered by the Windrush generation is undiminished and I will do all I can to make sure that more people are helped and more people are compensated in full. And if additional resources are needed, they will be provided.”

The review, which was published in March, was critical of the “hostile environment” policy operated by successive governments to tackle illegal immigration.

Ms Williams’ report concluded that the Home Office had shown “ignorance and thoughtlessness” on the issue of race when some people were incorrectly told that they did not have the right to be in Britain.

The Williams report made 30 recommendations, including that the Government should host a programme of reconciliation events with members of the Windrush generation, ensure that Home Office staff undertake a comprehensive programme covering the history of the UK and its colonial history, and appoint a Migrants’ Commission who would be responsible for speaking up for migrants and those affected by the system.

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds criticised the Government for its slow progress in compensating those impacted by the Windrush scandal which he said has compensated “just 60 people in its first year of operation”.

He added: “(Ms Patel) talked about more progress today but she must know that that rate of progress is just too slow given the number of years that have elapsed since this scandal first came to light and already this scheme has been in operation for over a year.”

Ms Patel replied: “I agree, the payments and the way in which payments have been made have been far too slow.

“I’m not apologising for that at all, I have outlined in my statement that it is right that we treat each individual with the respect and dignity they deserve. These are complicated cases.”

Earlier, Ms Patel said work is continuing to ensure that those who suffered as part of the Windrush scandal will receive the documentation and the compensation they need.

She told MPs: “So far over 12,000 people have been granted documentation by the Windrush task force, including over 5,900 grants of citizenship and the compensation scheme continues to make payments to compensate the losses and the impairs individuals suffered as a result of not being able to demonstrate their lawful status.”

Ms Patel added: “The rate of claims has already increased significantly in the last few months.

“As of the end of March more than £360,000 had been awarded and further offers have been made of approximately £280,000.

“And I can confirm today that over £1 million has been offered in claims so far and more payments and offers are being made each week.”

In response to Tory former minister Tim Loughton, the Home Secretary called for the department she leads to be “far more diverse”.

Ms Patel said: “Something that I feel very strongly about at a leadership level is ensuring that the Home Office is far more diverse and representative of the community that it serves. Sadly at this stage across all leadership functions it simply is not.”

Labour MP Paul Blomfield (Sheffield Central) called on the Government end indefinite detention.

Ms Patel said “detention is there for a reason” but acknowledged that the way in which members of the Windrush generation were put into detention was “completely wrong”.

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