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THE Windrush generation is being failed by the Home Office all over again due to fundamental problems in the compensation scheme, Parliament’s spending watchdog said today.
Despite promising to learn lessons from the scandal, Home Secretary Priti Patel’s department has set up a process that is too complex and difficult for victims to engage with, according to a report by the Commons public accounts committee.
The cross-party panel of MPs pointed out that some people had even died before their claims were dealt with due to inadequate capacity, with only 412 of the more than 2,000 claimants receiving final payments two years after the scheme’s launch.
Their findings will intensify calls for the department to be stripped of responsibility for the scheme, which is supposed to be able to handle up to 15,000 claims.
It was set up in 2019 after the government apologised for misclassifying thousands as “illegal” immigrants, which had led to some elderly people being deported despite having spent their entire adult lives in Britain.
Committee chairwoman Dame Meg Hillier, a Labour and Co-op MP, said: “Lifetimes in this country were discounted, people’s homes, families and livelihoods were interrupted and uprooted, some were forced from the country.
“Some were approaching the end of those lifetimes as this tragedy befell them. Some have died without ever seeing justice or receiving the compensation they deserve.
“Far from learning and applying lessons as promised, the Windrush compensation scheme is beset with the very same issues that led to the initial terrible mistakes.”
A Home Office spokesperson said that “further improvements to simplify the application process” were announced last week, including new support measures for those claiming on behalf of relatives who have died and the removal of the scheme’s end date.
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