For the dozens of Windrush clients we support, the significant delay and subsequent lack of clarity in announcing how those affected will be rightly compensated, has only served to heighten the trauma caused by the Home Office’s enduring ‘hostile environment’ policies.
While we welcome the creation of a compensation scheme, it remains to be seen how this will adequately compensate for the loss of livelihoods our fellow citizens, colleagues, neighbours and friends have and continue to suffer. Money will not bring back the years lost to destitution, feeling criminalised and excluded from society.
Due to the complexity of applying for the scheme, it is highly likely that support from law centres and solicitors will be required to do this successfully. For those without access to such help, they may not be able to secure compensation or face the risk of exploitation from those who may seek to profit from them.
Many of those we work with are still without direct communication or a personal apology from the Home Office, and the unanswered questions raised by this scheme will only compound their worry and confusion.
It also poses serious questions about the commitment and capability of the Home Office to learn from and provide adequate redress for the suffering they have caused.