Only five per cent of Windrush compensation claims settled in first year as Government bids to help victims

Charles Hymas

Fewer than five per cent of claims made by victims of the Windrush scandal have been paid compensation in the first year of the scheme, official figures show.

The Home Office said it had paid 60 people a combined total of £362,996 in the first year, although officials estimate the final total could be between £200 million and £500 million.

However, the figures show that more than 1,200 of the 1,272 claims were still outstanding by the end of March this year, although the number received by the department was decreasing each quarter since it launched.

One claimant received more than £100,000, which suggests the other 59 people who have been granted compensation will have received relatively low payouts averaging £4,400.

David Lammy, Labour’s justice spokesman, said: “Thousands of black Britons had their lives ruined by their own government in the Windrush scandal. Today we learn only 60 have received a penny of compensation. This is a gross insult.”

MPs have previously warned there is a risk of people dying before they receive compensation owed unless the Government steps up its efforts.

Home Office officials said compensation awards were complex but they were processing them as fast as possible.

Many people who have received compensation are likely to get more because what they have been given so far is an interim payment.

It had also made offers of about  £280,000 which have yet to be accepted.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said: “By listening to feedback from community leaders and those affected, we have begun to put right the wrongs caused to a generation who have contributed so much to our country.

“The Windrush Compensation Scheme has been developed to ease the burden from the unacceptable mistreatment some have faced, which is why it is so important that people continue to come forward.”

In 2018, ministers faced a furious backlash over the treatment of the Windrush generation - named after a ship that brought migrants to Britain from the Caribbean in 1948.

Commonwealth citizens who arrived before 1973 were automatically granted indefinite leave to remain. But some were later challenged over their immigration status despite living in the UK legally for decades.

An independent review later found that the Windrush scandal was "foreseeable and avoidable" and victims were let down by "systemic operational failings" at the Home Office.

Author Wendy Williams said the Government department had demonstrated "institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness" towards the issue of race and the history of the Windrush generation.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow Home Secretary, said: “To have supported just 60 people after the terrible injustice so many members of the Windrush Generation suffered shows that not only are the Tories callous, they are utterly incompetent as well.”