Custom Search 1

MPs call for urgent hardship fund for Windrush victims

HARDSHIP: Many people caught up in the Windrush immigration fiasco have run up huge debts as a result

A GROUP of MPs have urged the government to create for hardship fund to provide immediate support to victims of the Windrush immigration scandal.

The recommendation for financial assistance has come from the Home Affairs Select Committee, which is looking into the what went wrong in regards to the Windrush-related immigration, why the issues affecting the Windrush generation were not picked up sooner and whether the Government’s response to the crisis has been adequate.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said: “We are concerned that some people from the Windrush generation face destitution; are unable to settle legal bills; or are 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. They cannot wait many months for consultations to be concluded on the design and scope of the compensation scheme. We urge the Government to act immediately to set up a hardship fund for those in acute financial difficulty.”

The Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the causes and the government’s handling of the immigration issues affecting Caribbean-born UK residents who came to the UK between the end of the Second World War and 1973, known as the Windrush generation, began in April.

Although the interim report is due to be published in the near future, members of the committees said that the issue of financial hardship was too urgent to wait.

“We expect to publish an interim report for that inquiry in the very near future. However, there is an urgent and pressing issue which the committee wishes to focus on in this short report, one which cannot wait for the conclusion of our broader inquiry, that is the financial hardship that many members of the Windrush generation are currently facing, through no fault of their own,” the brief report published by the committee today states.

In its report, the committee highlighted the cases of a number of people that the home secretary stated have been “mistreated and have had to suffer through anxiety in so many other ways” and “seriously let down by the immigration system”.

Among those referred to were painter and decorator Anthony Bryan, who was placed in a detention centre on two occasions, lost his job after he was told he was in the UK illegally and last week had his car removed from bailiffs; and Judy Griffith who joined her parents in the UK in 1963, was unable to travel to Barbados to visit her sick mother or attend her funeral and owes thousands of pounds to Islington Council after getting into arrears because she was unable to prove her right to work in the UK.

The government has previously said that those affected by the Windrush immigration scandal would receive compensation.

Speaking in the House of Commons on April 23, Amber Rudd, the former home secretary who resigned as a result of the scandal, said: “I will put this right and where people have suffered loss, they will be compensated.”

Sajid Javid, who replaced Rudd, appointed lawyer Martin Forde to oversee the creation of the government’s compensation scheme. The deadline for the call for evidence was June 8.

The Voice's Windrush 70th anniversary souvenir edition is out June 21. The special publication will feature interviews, personal stories, profiles and much more.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app

Facebook Comments