Victims Of The Windrush Scandal Could Have Their Compensation Capped

George Bowden
Jamaican immigrants welcomed by RAF officials from the Colonial Office after the ex-troopship HMT Empire Windrush landed them at Tilbury, Essex in 1948 (archive photo).

Compensation for those affected by the Windrush scandal could be limited to “avoid excessively high payments”, the government has proposed.

In addition to a cap, a minimum value of claims is also suggested as a way of ensuring taxpayers’ cash is protected, the Home Office said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid had said that those impacted by the scandal would receive financial redress and that the proposals formed part of a key step towards that goal.

Public outrage was provoked when it was revealed that many of those who arrived from British colonies before 1973 had lost jobs and were denied access to NHS care due to their immigration status, with some even detained and deported despite being long-term UK residents.

The furore prompted the resignation of Amber Rudd as home secretary in April amid a series of damning reports in the Guardian newspaper documenting the stories of those affected by the so-called “hostile environment” policy.

Javid later said that “something massively went wrong” in his department. “I am very sorry for what has happened,” he added.

New details of the proposed compensation scheme were revealed in a consultation document published on Thursday.

Regarding the possible cap on payments, the Home Office wrote, “It is important to ensure that no individual receives a disproportionately high payment from the public purse.”

The department added: “We propose to place a cap or maximum amount which can be paid under the scheme in order to ensure that the payments made under the scheme can be distributed fairly across eligible claimants.”

It said that the proposed cap would “help to avoid any excessively high payments”. A minimum amount for compensation is also proposed to “protect the taxpayer from processing very low value claims”.

Javid wrote of the proposals on Thursday: “We are launching a consultation so that people can have their say on how compensation should work.

“It is always important for the government to listen, and the consultation we have launched will give people the opportunity to shape the design of the compensation scheme we introduce.”

He added: “I want a scheme that is fair, comprehensive and accessible”.

Thousands of people arrived from colonies to work in essential services between 1945 and 1973 as part of a government effort to re-build post-war Britain. Many travelled on a steam ship called the HMT Empire Windrush.