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'Windrush compensation needs to go further' says council

PICTURED: Cllr Carole Williams Photo credit: Gary Manhine)

HACKNEY COUNCIL has called on the Government to go further with its proposed scheme to compensate members of the Windrush generation, and is urging people to make sure they have their say.

Sharing the news on their website, Hackney Council have highlighted the need for the compensation scheme to go beyond November 16 - the closing date for consultations outlining how the scheme works.

In August, Hackney was the first council in the UK to pass a comprehensive motion regarding the Windrush generation, pledging to oppose the criminalisation of Windrush families, calling for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ policies and support for those who have been affected by them.

They believe the current compensation scheme is ‘an inadequate response to the scale of suffering that the misapplication of ‘hostile environment’ policies has created’.

Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills and Human Resources said: "Hackney’s Windrush generation and their children have, and continue to, contribute a huge amount, and are at the heart of the borough’s culture. It’s appalling that these valued members of society have been treated as second class citizens by this Government.

“Hackney Council and voluntary and community sector organisations across the borough have repeatedly heard first-hand about the terrible impact Home Office policies are having on local people’s lives. They are devastating individuals and families, and hundreds of residents are living in a climate of fear and uncertainty.

She added: “As well the personal anguish the ‘hostile environment’ approach has had on British citizens, it is leading to a host of other negative outcomes. Fear of drawing attention to themselves and facing deportation is acting as a barrier to people who are not undocumented migrants from accessing services and advice to which they are fully entitled.

"Areas particularly affected include health and mental health services, housing support, and employee rights advice, and the result is often exploitation and discrimination.

Cllr Williams added that while the compensation scheme is "the right thing" more needs to be done to ensure its fit for purpose.

"There should be no maximum compensation amount, no confidentiality agreements and no time limits or other restrictions placed on the scheme," she said. "It should be easy to engage with and understand, and discourage the need to use claims management firms.

"There is a danger that the compensation scheme creates precisely the bureaucratic tick box style system which has been the essence of the problem for those trying to prove their British citizenship.

"The scheme should also compensate for emotional distress, and not just direct financial losses which can be easily demonstrated."

Read more on Hackney Council's website here.

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