“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.
‘We’ll soon know the truth as to whether Adwoa Safo was in parliament or not’ – Ablakwa
It appears the Minority in Parliament is not giving up anytime soon on the matter of whether Dome Kwabenya MP, Sarah Adwoa Safo, was physically present in parliament on Tuesday November 30, 2021 or not.
Despite the MP and Minister clarifying in Parliament on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 on the floor of Parliament that she was the one in the chamber on Tuesday, and that she wasn’t impersonated by anyone as suggested, the NDC minority says that claim is full of inconsistencies.
It emerged on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 that Sarah Adwoa Safo has been absent from Parliament for some time now following an extension of her leave which was granted by the President.
The allegations are that she was impersonated during the proceedings on Tuesday because the Majority side needed the numbers at all cost to approve the government’s 2022 budget, which they did despite the disapproval by the minority side.
The controversy was deepened by the fact that videos and photos of a woman believed not to be the Dome Kwabenya MP in Parliament went viral on social media.
On Wednesday however, Sarah Adwoa Safo appeared in the House insisting that she was in the chamber the previous day and that, suspicions of impersonations must be ignored.
But NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says his side is not convinced.
“Very soon, we will put out all the details we know so far about the incident; which are very troubling. Very soon we will know and get to the bottom of the matter and Ghanaians will know the truth whether she was in the chamber or not. But safe to say, we are not convinced, so far the contradiction are one too many and it is important to state that , this should not be reduced to woman hood or how to dress as a woman at all. It is a needles distortion. That is not the issue at all”, Mr. Ablakwa said.
In the said viral video, the woman was seen wearing a nose mask, leaving the chamber right after the headcount which led to the approval of the budget statement.
However, on Wednesday, Madam Sarah Adwoa Safo appearing with a different hairstyle did not wear a nose mask.
Adwoa Safo dismissed Okudzeto Ablakwa’s claims, saying “I cannot force Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is my friend on the other side, to dress the way I want him to dress, that is an insult to womanhood so those making that noise should withdraw.”
Shortly after her message in Parliament, the Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, indicated that his side will establish the truth of the matter.
Job creation is our focus – Ofori-Atta
Ofori-Atta will be presenting the 2022 budget today
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921)
The budget will focus on solving the rising unemployment rate in the country
Finance minister Ken Ofori-Atta has disclosed that the 2022 budget will address the rising unemployment issue in the country.
He said the creation of jobs for the youth will be at the centre of the 2022 budget.
Also, the government will create an entrepreneurial environment for the youth of the country to venture into.
“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all,” the finance minister is reported to have said by Joy Business.
“Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” he added.
He also said the budget will focus on improving the revenue situation in the country.
Ken Ofori-Atta will present the budget statement and economic policy of government in parliament today, November 17.
The presentation is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and section 21 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
Meanwhile, economic analysts have asked Ghanaians to lower their expectations of freebies in the 2022 budget.
According to them, the nation is broke and needs to be revamped.
Ken Ofori-Atta presents 2022 budget today
Ken Ofori-Atta will be presenting the budget statement today
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of Act 921
The budget is described as the most anticipated budget in Ghana’s history
Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will on behalf of the President lay before Parliament, the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy of Government today.
This is in accordance with Article 179 of the 1992 Constitution and Section 21 (3) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016, (Act 921).
The budget, which is termed as the most anticipated in Ghana’s history is said to focus on expanding Ghana’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Finance, ahead of the budget reading in a statement hinted that the budget will among other things dwell on “creating a climate-friendly entrepreneurial state to address unemployment and import substitution.”
It also mentioned the “digitalisation of the economy, skills development and entrepreneurship as among the key issues in the presentation.”
Ken Ofori-Atta in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb stated that the government of Ghana is committed to putting in place measures that will help deal with the unemployment situation in the country as well as recent challenges with the employment of fresh graduates for the public sector.
“I don’t think we can wait any longer, because the time is now on how to create an entrepreneurial state and deal with this issue once and all. Certainly, the issues of youth and jobs will be the centre of this budget presentation,” the Minister said.
Ken Ofori-Atta, however, noted that creating an entrepreneurial state has been a challenge for the government, and hopefully the 2022 budget to deal with this problem.
Some interest groups including financial and economic analysts as well as professional and trade organisations have expressed varied expectations on the budget.
Whereas some analysts have urged the Government not to introduce new taxes, the Ghana Union of Traders Associations (GUTA) has, for instance, appealed to the government to implement policies that would reduce the cost of doing business in the country.
Other groups have also called for the widening of the tax net to enable the government to meet its revenue targets.
The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has also called on the government to review the payment of road tolls in the country.
Godfred Abulbire Adogma, the GPRTU general secretary, said Ghana should substitute paying of road tolls with a one-pesewa increment on the Energy Levy.
“When you come to the issue of road tolls, even if the government decides to raise the current amount of GHC1 to GHC2, that wouldn’t be enough.
“So, we have itemised all the reasons and the government could scrap all the toll booths and rather charge an amount per litre of fuel. That can be another measure to prevent revenue leakages,” Adogma was quoted in an Asaase radio report.
On his part, the Chief Executive of the Chamber of Pharmacy, Thony Ameka, in a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb, warned prices of medicines will increase if the government goes ahead to scrap the 50% discounts.
Eric Anti, Secretary of the Spare Parts Dealers Association at Abosey Okai in Accra, also expressed similar consequences.
But what is contained in the government 2022 budget?