The Government launched a public consultation on 19 July 2018 seeking views on proposals for a Windrush compensation scheme. I am today updating the House on the progress of the Government’s response to that consultation. Righting the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation remains one of my top priorities.
The consultation period was originally intended to last 12 weeks. I made a written statement on 11 October extending the consultation period, on the advice of Martin Forde QC, the independent adviser I appointed to oversee the development of the scheme. I agreed to this extension in order to give all those who would like to respond, the opportunity to do so.
Over 1,000 leaflets advertising the consultation were delivered via volunteers and community groups, and over 2,500 paper copies of the consultation document were distributed. The document was published on gov.uk, and information about the consultation was disseminated via email and social media. Assistance in completing responses was available through a freephone helpline and email address.
During the consultation period twelve focus groups were also held, involving over 300 participants. These took place in Croydon, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newport, Walsall, Woolwich, Leicester, Brixton, Wolverhampton, Reading, Coventry and Telford.
Since the consultation closed on 16 November, we have given very careful consideration to the 1,435 responses that were received from people and organisations, as well as the feedback from the focus groups. These views have been considered in addition to the 650 responses to the call for evidence which preceded the consultation. I also have met with Martin Forde QC to discuss his views on the design of the scheme.
I intend to publish the formal Government response to the consultation shortly, which will set out the detailed design of the scheme. I will also publish more detailed rules and guidance about the scheme, and information about how eligible claimants can apply. The compensation scheme will then be opened for claims as soon as possible.
I would like to thank all those who responded to the consultation and who took part in the wider engagement throughout this period. The views and experiences that have been shared have proved invaluable in shaping the Government’s policy, ensuring it addresses the matters raised by those affected.