Windrush Scheme - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:54 pm on 5th February 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development) 6:54 pm, 5th February 2019

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat the Answer to an Urgent Question asked in another place:

“Mr Speaker, righting the wrongs done to the Windrush generation has been at the forefront of my priorities as Home Secretary. That is why I have apologised on behalf of this Government and our predecessors. History shows that members of the Windrush generation—who have done so much to enrich our country—were wrongly caught up in measures designed to tackle illegal migration long before 2010. We all bear some responsibility for this.

This Government are acting to right this wrong. Our Windrush task force is helping those who have been affected. We are making it easy for them to stay and have waived all fees—2,450 individuals had been given documentation confirming their status by the end of last year. They were all helped by the task force, which we set up in April. At least 3,400 have been granted citizenship under the Windrush scheme we opened on 30 May 2018. The task force’s vulnerable persons team has provided support to 614 individuals, with 52 cases ongoing. It continues to receive approximately 20 new referrals each week. The task force has made 215 referrals to DWP to help people restore or receive benefits; 177 individuals have been given advice and support on issues relating to housing; and 164 individuals have been identified by the historical cases review unit, of whom 18 have been identified as people who we consider have suffered detriment due to their right to be in the UK not being recognised. Sadly, three of them are now deceased. I have written to the remaining 15 to apologise.

As part of putting right what has gone wrong, we are putting in place a compensation scheme to address the losses suffered by those affected. We have consulted on this to ensure that we get it right. We will bring forward more detail on the final shape of the compensation scheme as soon as possible, having carefully considered the views that have been submitted. In December the Home Office also published a policy for providing support in urgent and exceptional circumstances. This set out the approach and decision-making process for such cases. The policy will support those who have an urgent and exceptional need, and compelling reasons why this cannot wait for the full compensation scheme.

As I said on the day I became Home Secretary, I am determined to right the wrongs suffered by members of the Windrush generation. Let there be no doubt: my commitment to this remains resolute”.