Leading campaigning law firm Thompsons Solicitors is supporting the call for the UK government to urgently establish a compensation scheme for the victims of the Windrush scandal.

Martin Forde QC, a barrister specialising in health law, has been appointed by the Home Secretary to devise a compensation scheme for the Windrush generation.

The need for the scheme comes after thousands of people who came to the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries, the so called ‘Windrush generation’ fell victim to Home Office policies designed to “tackle” immigration in the UK by creating a “hostile environment” for those seeking to move here.

The scandal left thousands of people from Commonwealth countries fearing deportation as they are unable to provide documentation to prove their British citizenship, despite many having lived in the UK for their entire lives.

It is suspected that thousands of people have lost their jobs, been evicted from their homes and denied access to healthcare after failing to formalise their residency status – something many did not know they had to do, having come from the Commonwealth thinking they were British already. Others have been detained and in some cases deported because they could not provide the relevant documentation to remain in the UK.

The Home Office is now implementing a new system after a public backlash and condemnation in the media about how the UK government has treated citizens who have regarded Britain as their home for generations.

The new arrangements will mean that Commonwealth-born long-term UK residents are no longer subject to the Home Office Immigration plans and will not face deportation if they are unable to provide all of the documentation required. Instead, the government aims to work with the Windrush generation to help them to secure permanent residency in the UK.

"Standing up for mistreated members of society has been at the heart of what Thompsons stands for for almost 100 years and we raise our voice in support of people whose rights have been abused, or ignored, as they have been here."

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons

Why the government must set up a proper Windrush compensation scheme

"As the UK’s leading campaigning law firm and a passionate advocate for defending people’s rights, Thompsons Solicitors is fully backing the call to establish a compensation scheme for the Windrush generation," said Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons.

"We believe that the Windrush generation are the victims of a shocking injustice and have experienced significant inequality as a result of a deliberate government crackdown that looked at numbers not people. The idea that those who worked and paid taxes in the UK for all their lives should be treated in this way is appalling and an indictment of the Home Office and of the Prime Minister who started this policy when she was the Home Secretary.

"In our submission to the government’s call for evidence, we argue that not only should the people who were detained or deported get compensation for their emotional suffering, but it must extend to those who lost out in anyway including losing their jobs and homes. This was a debacle and no one should be left out of pocket as a result."

Thompsons Solicitors has significant experience of helping to shape, and of representing victims through, various compensation schemes over the last three decades. Thompsons has suggested that from its experience of establishing and then operating schemes including the Industrial Deafness Compensation Scheme, the Vibration White Finger Compensation Scheme, the CBE Scheme for ex miners and the Pleural Plaques Compensation Scheme that it is crucial for government to ensure that claimants get independent advice and claims companies are kept from exploiting those who are claiming.

Thompsons was also involved in mass litigation in post-apartheid South Africa, where the firm worked on behalf of black asbestos miners, which led to the establishment of a fund of circa £45 million for the miners and their families.

For free legal advice, contact Thompsons Solicitors on 0800 0 224 224.