Thandiwe Newton and Sir Lenny Henry sign petition calling for change to Windrush compensation scheme

·3-min read
Thandiwe Newton and Sir Lenny Henry (PA)
Thandiwe Newton and Sir Lenny Henry (PA)

Thandiwe Newton and Sir Lenny Henry are among thousands who have signed a petition calling for the Windrush compensation scheme to be amended by the Home Office.

The petition, which has received over 90,000 signatures, has called for the compensation scheme to be amended in a bid to make it easier for those who struggle with accessibility, and for funds to be made available to outreach groups and survivors in the UK, Africa and the Caribbean.

It also calls for a full apology letter to be included with every single compensation letter.

On Sunday, Ms Newton tweeted: “I’ve just signed the petition calling on @BorisJohnson and @pritipatel to Improve the compensation scheme for #windrush survivors and family members.”

Lenny Henry also tweeted his support for the petition on Monday, sharing a link with his 95,000 followers.

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The petition, which was launch last year, is nearing its 100,000 signatory target.

The petition, organised by campaigner Patrick Vernon, states the scheme has “failed the Windrush Generation”, with more than 21 people dying without receiving compensation.

“The compensation scheme was meant to help people get their lives back on track and for the government to acknowledge and apologise in how they abused the rights of Black British Citizens and other Commonwealth citizens,” the petition states.

“But instead the scheme has been far too complicated for victims to use, with very little support for those making claims.”

It comes after a report found victims of the Windrush scandal are still facing long waits to receive compensation.

Whitehall’s spending watchdog, the National Audit Office (NAO), concluded the Windrush Compensation Scheme is yet to meet its objective of compensating claimants quickly.

It said: “The number of people who have received payments has increased since December 2020, but operational challenges remain.”

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, were wrongly detained, deported or threatened with deportation, despite having the right to live in Britain.

Many lost homes and jobs and were denied access to healthcare and benefits.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Standard: “The Windrush generation were repeatedly failed by successive governments and the Windrush Compensation Scheme is a pivotal part of our work to put things right.

“In December the Home Secretary overhauled the Compensation Scheme to pay more money more quickly and we are seeing the positive effects of those changes – the scheme has now offered almost £30 million, of which £20.4 million has been paid out to those affected.

“More payments are made every week, but we know that more needs to be done. That is why we are working closely with stakeholders and community leaders so that all those affected can get the compensation they deserve, as quickly as possible.”

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