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Home Office ‘appears to be failing’ Windrush generation again with compensation scheme, MPs warn

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“Far from learning and applying lessons as promised, the Windrush compensation scheme is beset with the very same issues that led to the initial terrible mistakes,” Public Accounts Committee chairwoman and Labour MP Meg Hillier says.

The Home Office “appears to be failing” the Windrush generation again with its flawed compensation scheme, a committee of MPs has warned.

According to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), it is too complex, too slow to pay out compensation and understaffed, with just six people employed initially to work through a predicted 15,000 claims.

“Far from learning and applying lessons as promised, the Windrush compensation scheme is beset with the very same issues that led to the initial terrible mistakes,” committee chairwoman and Labour MP Meg Hillier said.

The Home Office said “many of the issues” raised in the report are “already being addressed”.

A spokesperson said: “Last week we announced further improvements to simplify the application process, new support measures for those claiming on behalf of relatives who have passed away and the removal of the scheme’s end date. All designed to ensure every victim receives the compensation they deserve.

“And since December, when the home secretary overhauled the scheme, the amount of compensation paid has risen from less than £3m to almost £27m, whilst a further £7.1m has been offered.”

The Windrush scandal emerged in 2018 when it was found that hundreds of Commonwealth citizens had been wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights, despite having the right to live in Britain.

Patel apologises to Windrush scandal victims

A compensation scheme to reimburse those affected was introduced in 2019 following an outcry.

But the cross-party PAC has issued a withering assessment of the scheme’s work so far.

“The Home Office promised to learn lessons from the Windrush scandal, but having failed the Windrush generation once, it appears to be failing them again,” its report said.

The MPs discovered that some people had died before their claims were processed, while fewer than a quarter of claimants had received compensation.

“Let’s not lose sight of the scale of wrongs that the Home Office has promised to right here,” Ms Hillier said.

“Lifetimes in this country were discounted, people’s homes, families and livelihoods were interrupted and uprooted, some were forced from the country.

“Some were approaching the end of those lifetimes as this tragedy befell them.

“Some have died without ever seeing justice or receiving the compensation they deserve.”

‘People traumatised’ by Windrush scandal

The report comes in the wake of Home Secretary Priti Patel announcing that she would scrap the April 2023 deadline for compensation claims and instead make it indefinite.

When MPs took evidence for their report in June, they found that 412 of the 2,367 claims submitted had received a final payment.

Home Office minister Kit Malthouse told MPs earlier this month that 732 people had been awarded compensation, with £24m paid out from the £32m on offer.

The PAC said people are “still waiting far too long to receive compensation” and the Home Office has made “little progress” in sorting out claims where people had died, causing “future distress” for the families affected.

Just four of 132 claims made on behalf of the estate of someone who had died have received payment, the committee said.

In their report, they also say that government estimates for how many compensation claims there would be have been “completely wrong”.

It was initially estimated by the Home Office that there would be 15,000 eligible claims, but to date 2,631 have been lodged.

The committee discovered that the Home Office was employing six caseworkers to deal with claims when the scheme first launched two years ago, compared with the 125 it considered it would need.

“It has never caught up and appears to still be significantly understaffed,” the committee concluded.

Journalist and science writer for NewsAfrica24, the Atlantic, New Scientist, Aeon, Men’s Health, and many others. Author of The Intelligence Mafias, published by Stoughton (UK)/WW Norton (USA) and translated into six languages.

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Ignore twisted interpretation of ‘do or die’ comment – Ashanti chief to Mahama

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The Krontihene of Ejura Sekyedumase, Nana Agyapa II, has expressed surprise about the deliberate twisting of an idiom used by former President John Dramani Mahama to demonstrate the commitment of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) to plug any loopholes that contributed to the party’s inability to win the 2020 general elections.

According to the NDC 2020 Presidential Candidate, the party considers the 2024 election very critical and will be a ‘Do or Die’ affair, urging party operatives to remember that they can only win the election at the level of the polling stations.

In his remarks to welcome the former President and his entourage to the palace of the Frantehene ahead of his tour of the Ashanti Region, the Krontihene expressed his misgivings over the deliberate attempt to twist what Mr. Mahama said.

“These days even when you speak well some misconstrue it. It is unfortunate because the former President is only rallying his supporters that at the next elections the party would be vigilant and not be caught unawares, and that all persons given responsibility should focus and execute their task flawlessly to get their expected results.”

“There is nothing wrong with what he said. But others have deliberately misconstrued his statement. But don’t lose hope, I know that good times are ahead. I am very happy that you have seen that it is not the court you would go to seek redress but that you and your party members will be vigilant and put in the right measures so that your victory is not stolen” he stressed.

Speaking later at a gathering where the leadership of the NDC interacted with victims of a November 21, 2020 accident that involved members of the party from Frante, Frantehene Nana Owusu Sekyere Bobo III commended the former President for the developments he brought to the community during his Presidency.

He recalled that it was President Mahama’s NDC administration that connected 51 communities in the Constituency to the national grid. He also acknowledged Mr. Mahama for coming to the aid of the people and responding to a demand for a school block, among many others.

Nana Frantehene was optimistic that his community can always rely on the NDC if given another chance because of what the community previously benefitted under the party’s administration. He also requested for help to upgrade their clinic to be able to cater for the health need of the people.

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Rev Owusu Bempah reportedly rushed to hospital

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The Founder and Leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah, has been rushed to the Police Hospital in Accra, newsafrica24.com gathers.

The popular man of God was sent to hospital in handcuffs after he fell sick while in police custody.

Rev Owusu Bempah was remanded into police custody on Monday, September 13 after he was denied bail by an Accra Circuit Court presided over by Her Honour Afia Owusuaa Appiah.

He pleaded not guilty to charges levelled against him by the police.

The controversial pastor was picked up on Sunday from his church premises amid stiff resistance from some of the members.

Three of his followers were arrested alongside him and they were also arraigned before court on Monday. Two are on the run.

Their case will be re-called on Monday, September 20.

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Democracy has been beneficial for Ghana and Africa – Akufo-Addo

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“Democracy has been beneficial for the continent and for our country. We know, however, that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and vigilant we shall be here in Ghana. We shall not let our guard down, and allow the clammy embrace of the people by anti-democrats, who are disdainful and incapable of effective popular mobilisation through accepted channels, but who want shortcuts to power without the express support of the people.”

These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, when he delivered a speech at the 2021 Ghana Bar Conference, held in Bolgatanga, capital of the Upper East Region, on Monday, 13th September 2021.

Addressing the gathering, President Akufo-Addo data and history have proven, beyond all reasonable doubt, that all aspects of national life have witnessed significant improvements under democratic dispensations, in comparison to periods of military rule.

According to the President, “The 1970s and 1980s, the periods of unbridled authoritarian rule on the continent, were the eras of economic decline, worsening poverty, collapsing infrastructure and insecurity on our continent. GDP per capita in 1970, for example, according to the World Bank, stood at $220”.

He added that the “third wave of democratization” in Africa, beginning in the 1990s, saw GDP per capita rise, substantially, to six hundred and five dollars ($605) in 1995, declined marginally to five hundred and forty-seven dollars ($547) in the year 2000, and, in 2017, increased to one thousand, five hundred and fifty dollars ($1,550).

In Ghana, President Akufo-Addo stated that GDP per capita was three hundred and ninety-eight dollars ($398) in 1990, declined to two hundred and fifty-eight dollars ($258) in 2000, and it is now two thousand, two hundred and twenty-three dollars ($2,223).

Another key index of Human Development, life expectancy at birth, he said, was estimated by the World Bank at forty-five (45) years in 1970 in sub-Saharan Africa.

“By 1990, this had increased to fifty (50) years, and, in 2019, life expectancy at birth on the continent was sixty-one (61) years. In Ghana, it was forty-nine (49) years in 1970, and sixty-four (64) years in 2019. According to data from the World Bank, primary school enrolment in sub-Saharan Africa in 1970 stood at 54%, and had increased to 98.9% in 2019. It was 64% for us in Ghana in 1970, and by 2019, stood at 105% in 2019,” he said.
According to the President, the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy has brought 1.2 million Ghanaian children into the education ecosystem, the highest number of students in secondary school in Ghana’s history, four hundred thousand (400,000) of whom would otherwise have been excluded.

Additionally, he indicated that the National Health Insurance Scheme is operating more adequately, and is enjoying the confidence of the increasing numbers of its users, with the number of active members up from 10.6 million in 2016 to 12.3 million at the end of 2019, stressing that “the goal in sight is to attain Universal Health Coverage for all”.

With next year marking the 30th anniversary of the 1992 Referendum, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Ghanaian people showed through that process their commitment to democratic governance under a Constitution that guarantees the full enjoyment of fundamental human rights and civic liberties.

“The decision has ushered our nation into the longest, uninterrupted period of stable, constitutional democratic governance in her history, which has experienced, under the 4th Republic, three (3) peaceful transfers of power through the ballot box on three (3) separate occasions. The anti-democrats, who are always looking for occasions to sneer at democratic governance, should also bear the following data in mind,” he said.

Bar Conferences, the President explained, became concerned with constitutional rule, freedom of the press, independence of the judiciary and other matters that were of paramount interest to the citizens, who wanted to live under a governance structure that was insulated from authoritarian rule, whether of the one-party Union Government or military variety.

“The Bar joined, wholeheartedly, in the search of the people for democratic governance, where power emanates from the open decision of the ballot box, not from the coercive force of the gun, secretly undertaken behind the backs of the people,” he added. 

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