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Windrush Compensation Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:18 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 1:18 pm, 3rd April 2019

I thank the right hon. Lady for her comments and also for what she said about Martin Forde QC and the work he has done to make this scheme a reality. She started by saying that this should never have happened. I absolutely agree with her and always have. I think the whole House agrees on that. Of course none of the people who were caught up were here illegally; they had every right to be here.

The right hon. Lady has referred to the compliant environment. Sadly, she talks about it as though it were an environment that had been put in place since 2010. However, she knows that the right to check whether someone is here illegally and a number of other rules and regulations were put in under the previous Labour Government. She talks about how people were affected, and we are all trying to deal with this issue and to provide justice, but it is worth reminding the House that when the historical review was done and it was determined that 164 people were the most likely to have suffered detriment, almost half of them had suffered detriment under the previous Labour Government. It is worth keeping it in mind that successive Governments have in effect caused this problem, and it is no good trying to point the finger at one particular Government.

The right hon. Lady talked about the EU settlement scheme. It is precisely because of the lessons of Windrush that we need a scheme that cannot just be declaratory in approach. We need to ensure that our EU friends who are here in this country are properly documented. The abiding lesson from Windrush is the lack of proper documentation. She has rightly talked about those who want to have UK citizenship, and she knows that we have set up a special route for that. Approximately 4,000 people have taken advantage of that, at no cost to themselves. She is also right to say that the scheme is not just open to people of Caribbean origin, and I am glad we agree on that. She asked about the urgent exceptional payments fund. This is not just another compensation scheme; it is supposed to deal just with urgent exceptional payments. It is not capped, and I understand that nine payments have been made so far.

The right hon. Lady also asked about the compensation scheme, and how much it was likely to cost. There is no cap on the scheme, so no one knows what the eventual cost will be. It will be based on people’s needs and the claims that are made by eligible people, but the baseline estimate from my Department is that it will be approximately £200 million. She also referred to legal fees and private healthcare costs. I can tell her that in both those cases, although there is a tariff structure, both allow for actuals being paid in certain circumstances where proof is provided.