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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 Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 1:18 pm, 3rd April 2019

I thank the Home Secretary for advance sight of his statement. Of course, it is imperative that the victims of the Windrush scandal are compensated justly for their outrageous and disgraceful treatment. If the scheme delivers some sort of justice, that will be welcome, but we need more information before we can finalise our judgment. I welcome what the Home Secretary says about there being no cap on the scheme, because the needs of victims, not the choices of the Treasury, must drive the total amount of compensation.

Will the Home Secretary explain exactly what the Home Office will be compensating? Is it only financial losses, or will the devastating impact on health, wellbeing, family relationships and other aspects of life that so many have suffered also be considered? Can he tell us whether claiming compensation will preclude victims from seeking other forms of redress from the Home Office, including through the courts, and will the nine people who have been able to claim from the hardship fund also be able to claim under the compensation scheme? It is welcome that the compensation scheme is not restricted to Caribbean countries, but why is the Department not undertaking work to find victims of the scandal from all Commonwealth countries, rather than restricting case reviews just to Caribbean countries? The Home Office has ruined the lives of citizens from all around the Commonwealth, so it should be taking steps to fix and compensate all those cases.

Finally, the Home Secretary referred to the shock felt by the whole country in response to Windrush, but it should not have been a shock to the then Home Secretary, now the Prime Minister, or her Department because the Department had been repeatedly warned that it was an inevitable consequence of the hostile environment. We still need to know why the Home Office ignored its own warnings and pressed ahead with the hostile environment regardless. When will the lessons learned review be published, and when will the Home Secretary start rolling back on hostile environment policies such as the right to rent?