The consultation for the Windrush compensation scheme has been extended by five weeks to ensure that everyone who wants to is able to contribute, the Home Office announced.
Following a recommendation from Martin Forde QC, the independent adviser appointed to oversee the development of the scheme, the decision was made to extend the period of time that people have to respond. The consultation will now close on 16 November.
Based on his engagement with community groups and the roadshows he is undertaking across the country, Martin Forde advised that it was clear people needed more time to respond.
The Home Secretary has committed to listening to the widest possible range of voices, including those affected and their families, community groups and specialist legal representatives and extending the consultation will ensure that this is possible.
In addition, the Home Secretary has announced that a framework will be developed to make individual payments ahead of the compensation scheme in urgent and exceptional cases.
Martin Forde QC said:
“I have travelled around the country to seek the views of those affected and it became very clear to me that people need more time to engage with the consultation.
“With that in mind, and on my advice, the consultation has been extended. This will help us get as many views as possible and make sure we can design an effective and fair compensation scheme.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“I’ve been clear that we must right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation and the compensation scheme is a key part of that.
“It is absolutely vital we get the scheme right and give everyone who wants to participate in the consultation the chance to input their views.
“In the meantime, we will ensure that individual payments are made in urgent and exceptional cases”
Following the consultation, the priority of the Home Secretary is to establish a compensation scheme which will start making payments as soon as possible.
There are already several measures and initiatives in place to help those of the Windrush generation who are concerned about benefits, housing or employment. A dedicated team for vulnerable people has been set up within the Windrush Taskforce, it has already assisted over 450 people where an urgent need for support or advice was identified.
In addition, a “Fast-Track” service with the Department for Work and Pensions has been established to arrange access to benefits; steps to secure accommodation with local authorities for those identified as homeless; and interim guidance to employers and landlords. An agreement with Citizens Advice has also been put in place to provide bespoke professional advice to anyone experiencing immediate financial problems.