10:39, May 10 269 0 theguardian.com

2018-05-10 10:39:07
Windrush citizens urged to give evidence for compensation

The government has called for Windrush citizens and their families to come forward with their personal stories as it draws up details of a potentially costly compensation scheme for those wrongly targeted over their immigration status.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, announced in a written statement that Martin Forde QC, a lawyer specialising in health cases and himself the son of Windrush parents, had been appointed to oversee the design of the compensation scheme.

But the statement did not reveal how many are owed compensation and how much the government expects to pay out.

Among those affected by the Windrush scandal are people forced out of work, in some cases for years, and unable to claim welfare support, as well as individuals wrongfully detained and in some cases deported. Lawyers have begun preparing group compensation claims on behalf of members of the Windrush generation.

“To put things right we need to understand more about what happened, to understand the personal stories, which will help to inform the design of the compensation scheme,” Javid said.

“As well as receiving written contributions I have asked officials to reach out to the people and communities most closely affected, listen to their concerns directly and, in particular, understand properly how we might address them through a compensation scheme.”

The call for evidence will run until 8 June and responses will be published, Javid said. A public consultation will then be launched on the “technical” aspects of the scheme.

The announcement comes after 12 Caribbean and Commonwealth high commissioners had an hour-long meeting with Javid on Thursday morning.

It is understood the group was impressed with Javid’s apparent commitment to resolving the problem after he reiterated his personal take on the scandal. The new home secretary previously told MPs that when he learned of the fate of the Windrush generation he thought, as a child of Commonwealth migrants, “it could have been me”.

It was the high commissioners’ second meeting with a home secretary, after a 17 April meeting with Javid’s predecessor, Amber Rudd.

On giving Forde independent oversight of compensation scheme’s design, Javid said: “He is himself the son of Windrush parents and brings a wealth of experience in complex public law and compensation matters. I am confident that he will ensure that the interests of those affected will be properly represented and reflected in the scheme.”

Forde has appeared in regulatory and disciplinary tribunals for practitioners including doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and optometrists.