'The Windrush compensation scheme has an uncomfortable echo of original problems'

20 November 2020, 14:14 | Updated: 20 November 2020, 14:34

By Sam Sholli

The Windrush compensation scheme process has an "uncomfortable echo" of original problems underlying the scandal, Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman has told LBC.

Ms Gentleman, who is the journalist that uncovered the Windrush scandal, made the remark following the revelation that the most senior black Home Office employee in the team responsible for the scheme resigned earlier this year.

Alexandra Ankrah, a former barrister who worked as head of policy in the Windrush compensation scheme, has said there were black and Asian people being “re-traumatised” by it.

Ms Gentleman told James O'Brien: "What is really striking is how closely her concerns are echoed by the concerns of the people who have been trying to get compensation, for 18 months some of them.

"And a lot of them have come to the Guardian and talked about real unhappiness with very long delays.

"More than nine people have died so far in the kind of space between applying for compensation and hearing anything back."

Ms Gentleman added: "Other people are very unhappy about the extremely low payouts, long delays, and also about the very high amount of documentary proof of the things that they went through that the Home Office is asking them for.

"Of course, if you're paying compensation, it has to be done properly. It has to be evidenced.

"But there's a sort of uncomfortable echo here of the original problems where the Home Office was refusing to believe people when they said they were here in the UK legally."

James then asked the Guardian journalist how unfit for purpose the Home Office is irrespective of who is in charge of it.

She replied: "I think that Priti Patel, just as Sajid Javid did and Amber Rudd before, has recognised that reform is urgently needed. The question is when are they actually going to get to implementing that reform because they know what they need to do..."