To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons claimants who were accompanied by an adult family member on their journey to receiving countries are ineligible for payment under the Government's ex gratia payment scheme for former British Child Migrants.
On 19 December the Government published its response to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse's Interim Report and its report on Child Migration Programmes. The response states that the Government will establish an ex-gratia payment scheme and will ensure that former child migrants receive a payment as soon as possible, in recognition of the fundamentally flawed nature of the historic child migration policy. Further details were provided at the end of January on the Child Migrants Trust website.
The figure of £20,000 has been set using the methodology of the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which recommended a payment of £20,000 for former child migrants sent from Northern Ireland as part of the Child Migrant Programmes. This is to ensure fairness between former child migrants sent from different parts of the United Kingdom.
We have coordinated communications about the payment scheme with the Child Migrants Trust and the International Association of former Child Migrants and their Families. We have also publicised the scheme through High Commissions in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Zimbabwe.
The ex-gratia payment will be £20,000 for each former British child migrant and we anticipate that about 2000 former British child migrants will be eligible. Through the business planning process, the Government will ensure that there is sufficient funding to support the scheme based on the current estimates of payments and demand. The scheme is open to any former British child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018, or the beneficiaries of any former British child migrant who was alive on 1 March 2018 and has since passed away.
The payments are being made in respect of the harm done to former British child migrants in being separated from their families and sent overseas as part of the UK Government’s historic participation in child migration programmes. Children who went overseas with their parents or guardians, or were sent overseas by their parents or guardians, are clearly in a different category: they were not the responsibility of local authorities or Government organisations in the United Kingdom and their parents or guardians made the arrangements voluntarily.