Rt Hon Rishi Sunak and Rt Hon Keir Starmer
Prime Minister & Leader of the Labour Party
Dear Mr Sunak and Mr Starmer,
If you don’t know the history you don’t see the injustice.
Invited by the government to help rebuild the country after the second world war, the Windrush generation answered the call.
Decades later, this generation has been shut out and grossly mistreated by a disastrous government compensation scheme. Britain’s colonial history needs to be addressed and understood so that as a nation we can begin to heal and never let this happen again.
We, the undersigned, call on the Government to appoint an independent neutral body to oversee the Windrush Compensation Scheme and to pledge delivery of full compensation to Windrush victims as part of its forthcoming general election manifesto.
These are the facts
- When the Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched in April 2019, the Home Office estimated that around 15,000 people would be eligible for compensation.
- As of January 2024, only 13.8% of those eligible had received any compensation.
- As of April 2023, 1 in 6 applicants (16%) have been waiting for over a year for a result, with around half of these (7.5%) waiting for more than 18 months.
- The Home Office has refused to give applicants legal aid – making the path to justice even more difficult.
- Just £75.23 million of an allocated £200-500 million has been awarded to victims.
We need change NOW
The Justice4Windrush campaign is inviting the public to join us by watching and sharing our film, and to sign up on our website in support of the following eight recommendations for the Government:
- Make full and swift compensation for Windrush victims a Home Office priority. Reinstating the Transformation Team and Windrush Working Group is crucial.
- To ensure its credibility with claimants, remove the Windrush Compensation Scheme from the Home Office and identify or create an independent and neutral body or organisation to operate it and make appeal decisions.
- Direct the Home Office to ensure more transparent, independent oversight over its administration of the scheme, including quarterly, detailed public reports on the scheme’s operation by the independent assessor.
- Ensure that legal aid is guaranteed to all eligible claimants.
- Lower the burden of proof for claims and compensate fully for losses and impact on life, regardless of the complexity.
- Stop deportations. Trust is gone. So many have been deported in error. Already traumatised victims need to feel safe to come forward.
- End the decades long history of covert racist immigration laws and bring an end to the Hostile Environment immigration policy
- Pledge full compensation to Windrush victims as part of its forthcoming general election manifesto.
- Implement all the recommendations set out by the 2020 Wendy Williams Review.
The Windrush generation is running out of time. Already more than 50 people have died waiting to receive compensation.
This injustice is a stain on our history and shames this country.
Britain’s Windrush generation must be seen, heard, and healed.
This scandal has been decades in the making. The Home Office must resolve it NOW. It is time to give the Windrush generation a voice.
Colin McFarlane, Actor & Campaigner
Annie Lennox Singer, Songwriter & Campaigner
signatures so far
AJ Tracey, Music artist & Supporter
Hannah Waddingham, Actor & Supporter
Jay Blades MBE, TV presenter & Supporter
Cashh, Music artist & Supporter
Don Letts, Director, DJ, Musician & Supporter
Hak Baker, Music artist & Supporter
Eddie Marsan, Actor & Supporter
Karen Gibson MBE, Choir conductor & Supporter
Adrian Lester, Actor & Supporter
Mega, Music artist & Supporter
Rodney P, MC, Music artist & Supporter
Leee John, Music artist & Supporter
Alex Wheatle, Author & Campaigner
Danny Sapani, Actor & Supporter
Jazmine Flowers, Music artist & Supporter
Charlotte Tobierre, Windrush victim descendant
Jamie Tobierre, Windrush victim descendant
Thomas Tobierre, Windrush victim
Antony Bryan, Windrush victim
Janet McKay Williams, Windrush advocate
Elwaldo Romeo, Windrush victim
Rachelle Romeo, Windrush victim descendant
Sidney McFarlane MBE, Ex-RAF officer
Jesse Stevens MBE, Windrush Pioneer
Michael Braithwaite, Windrush Victim
Glenda Caesar, Windrush VIctim
Sony Campbell, Windrush Victim
Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE, Campaigner
Pauline Campbell, Lawyer
Anna Steiner, Lawyer
Martin Forde KC, Lawyer
Leroy Logan MBE, Retired Police Superintendent
Roland Houslin, Co-founder of Justice For Windrush Generation
The Home Office scandal that impacted the Windrush generation is not over. Yet many across the country think it is. In 2022, a leaked internal report commissioned by the Home Office revealed that, ‘During the period 1950-1981, every single piece of immigration or citizenship legislation was designed at least in part to reduce the number of people with black or brown skin who were permitted to live and work in the UK’.
2012’s Hostile environment policy has exacerbated institutional racism, resulting in over 15,000 victims and rising.
With an immigration policy designed to create a hostile environment for migrants, many Windrush families have been cut off from housing, banking, health, and other critical services that they are entitled to.
Some have been unable to visit loved ones abroad. Many of those that did have been prevented from returning to their lives in the UK.
Those that stayed have been threatened with detention. Some have been deported.
Windrush victims whose legal status has been wrongly assessed by the Home Office, have a right to live in the UK.
The Windrush Compensation Scheme was supposed to right these wrongs. But not only has it failed, it continues to heap even more suffering on victims.
Through the unique power of music and film we want to give the Windrush generation a voice. This is an anti-racism, social justice campaign.