‘It’s painful’: Windrush victims waiting years for compensation haven’t received a penny

  • Watch the full report by ITV Meridian's Derek Johnson

Campaigners in the South are calling for a review of the scheme to compensate victims of the Windrush immigration scandal, after a report found just under six percent of those who applied have received compensation.

It comes after thousands of people, among those who came over to the UK from the Caribbean, were wrongly deemed to have been living and working here illegally - and some were deported.

The findings from the cross-party House of Commons 'Home Affairs Committee' said the compensation scheme had a litany of flaws and should be handed over to an independent organisation.

The report found just under six percent of those who applied have received compensation Credit: ITV Meridian

Beverley Dowdell flew from Jamaica to Heathrow in 1971, as a highly-qualified nurse, who came to work in Southampton Hospital's intensive care unit. 

She settled in the UK after being part of the Windrush generation who helped to ease Britain's post war labour shortage.

But four years ago, not all, but thousands of them were detained and some people were deported, for not having official paperwork. A new report said the scheme to compensate victims is failing.

Beverley Dowdell said: "Many of us came here, with hope in our hearts that we would work hard and we would do well, and a lot of us did. And to be told you are not wanted here anymore and your papers are wrong and then to not get compensation, I feel very pained by the whole matter."

  • Beverley Dowdell, Former Southampton NHS worker:

The government wrongly told some arrivals they were living here illegally.

The committee wants the compensation scheme to be taken away from the Home Office. Its other recommendations include an increase in the number of people applying for the scheme, and immediate £10,000 payments for those the government accept were victims.

Race and diversity consultant Don John from Southampton said many caught up in the scandal don't trust the Home Office anymore.

He said: "There's a very bad historical experience that they have with the Home Office and it will take a lot of effort to get people to trust them again. Some kind of independent legal support, operating in a local area, will be extremely helpful."

  • Don John, Race and diversity consultant:

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “The Home Secretary and the department remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure that members of the Windrush generation receive every penny of compensation that they are entitled to.

“The Home Secretary overhauled the scheme in December to ensure more money is paid more quickly – since then the amount of compensation paid has risen from less than £3 million to over £31.6 million, with a further £5.6 million having been offered. There is no cap on the amount of compensation we will pay out.

“We are pleased this report welcomes the changes made to the scheme in December and we continue to make improvements, such as simplifying the application process, hiring more caseworkers and removing the end date.

“We firmly believe that moving the operation of the scheme out of the Home Office would risk significantly delaying vital payments to those affected.”