Windrush compensation scheme overhauled

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The British government invited colonial subjects in the Caribbean to fill a postwar labor shortage. The first large group arrived on Empire Windrush on June 21, 1948.Credit...Daily Herald Archive/SSPL, via Getty Images 

By Caribbean News Global Caribbean News Global fav Windrush compensation scheme overhauled

LONDON, England – The Windrush Compensation Scheme has been reformed following consultation with the Windrush Working Group chaired by Bishop Derek Webley, members of the Windrush generation as well as community leaders and stakeholders. The Home Secretary has always been clear that she will listen to feedback to make the Scheme as effective as possible so that everyone eligible for compensation receives the money they deserve, the UK Visas and Immigration and Home Office said in a statement Monday.

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Individuals affected by Windrush will now receive a minimum of £10,000 compensation through the Impact on Life category once their claim has been approved. This is 40 times the minimum award currently available. This will be paid as a new early preliminary payment as soon as someone applying on their own behalf or on behalf of a deceased relative can show any impact on their life under the terms of the Scheme. They won’t have to wait for their whole application to be assessed.

In addition, the Home Secretary has significantly increased payments at all levels within the Impact on Life category with the maximum available rising from £10,000 to £100,000 for eligible cases, with an option to go higher in exceptional circumstances. These higher-level awards will be made once the whole application has been assessed.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “[Today] I am announcing significant changes to the Windrush Compensation Scheme so that those affected will now receive significantly more money, much more quickly. I have always said that I will listen and act to help those who suffered terrible injustices and today’s changes are an important step in rebuilding trust and moving forward together.”

The Home Office will start to issue some offers of preliminary payments this week and will begin making payments under the new rules from January 1, 2021.

We will ensure that:

  • Individuals directly affected themselves and their families and estates who have a pending applications will be considered for either a preliminary or final payment in the first 3 months of 2021;
  • We will begin to review all cases where an offer or payment has already been made and increase that in line with the new rules. Applicants will be advised of the timeframes involved;
  • We are also removing the 12-month cap on compensation for lost earnings meaning that people will be compensated for the actual period that they were out of work in all circumstances;
  • Full details on eligibility and guidance on the changes will be published following the announcement.

The current compensation scheme was set up at pace and became operational in April 2019 so claims could be assessed immediately. It has paid out more than £2 million and a further £1 million has been offered.

Bishop Derek Webley said: “The Windrush Working Group is glad to have collaborated with the Home Office and others to support these important and much-needed changes to the existing compensation scheme, and are delighted that they will be implemented so swiftly. Many will benefit from the relief that these new payments will provide, and begin to move forward with their lives with hope and determination.”

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