After publication of the 'lessons learned' report into the Windrush scandal, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has apologised in the House of Lords for the "wickedness" of the "terrible reception" given to members of the Windrush generation by the Church of England. "One of the historic failures of the Church of England, in many ways as bad as the 'hostile environment,' was the terrible reception we gave to the Windrush Britain generation, many of them Anglicans. As a result they went off and formed their own churches which have flourished much better than ours.We would have been so much stronger if we had behaved correctly." He said they were very often "turned away" or given a "very weak welcome or no welcome at all". Read more here.
In response to the Windrush Review, published yesterday, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced three new initiatives as she gave an apology in Parliament.
MJR's initial response to the report and what action should now be taken is to:
The long overdue independent report on the Windrush Scandal was finally published today, amid much suspicion that the timing, in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, strongly suggests the government are hoping it's contents and recommendations will receive as little attention as possible.
The Windrush Lessons Learned Review is scathing on the way British citizens were wrongly deported, dismissed from their jobs and deprived of services such as NHS care and says the Home Office demonstrated “institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race” during the Windrush scandal. It concludes that the failings are “consistent with some elements of the definition of institutional racism”.
The report’s author, Wendy Williams said at its launch: “The Windrush generation has been poorly served by this country, a country to which they contributed so much and in which they had every right to make their lives. The many stories of injustice and hardships are heartbreaking, with jobs lost, lives uprooted and untold damage done to so many individuals and families.” The 275-page report says the roots of the problem can be traced back to racially motivated legislation dating back to the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Read more here and here.
MP David Lammy commented: "If the government is serious about righting the wrongs suffered by the Windrush generation, it will recognise that this moment cannot be ignored. The hostile environment must be replaced by a humane environment". Read his opinion piece here.
Read the Home Secretary's response to the report here, and access the report itself here.
It has been revealed that a report which concluded that the Home Office was 'institutionally racist' over its 'hostile environment' immigration policy has been 'watered down'. The claim has been edited out of the final draft of the so-called 'lessons learned' Windrush Review into detentions and deportations of members of the Windrush Generation. The report was originally due to be published in March 2019 but has yet to appear.
An early draft of the report, led by inspector of constabulary Wendy Williams, described the Home Office as 'institutionally racist'. But according to sources reported by The Times, this has been removed. Previous leaked extracts of the report said the department had been 'reckless' and had a 'defensive culture' over how it handled immigration. A leak that emerged last week said the government should end the removal of foreign-born offenders who arrived in the UK as children. According to The Times, this recommendation has also been removed from the latest version
Labour MP David Lammy, who has campaigned on the Windrush scandal, said it had resulted in the "systematic deportation and detention of black citizens by the Home Office. The victim's nationality and rights were denied because of the colour of their skin. If that is not institutionally racist, I have no idea what is."
Read more here and here.
The Runnymede Trust, a race equality thinktank, is urging the government to make lessons on migration, belonging and empire mandatory in every secondary school in England. The Windrush scandal has exposed a “shocking lack of understanding” at government level about the winding up of the empire. At present just 4% of pupils taking GCSE history choose the “migration to Britain” option, which also covers the topic of the British empire.
The report states: “Migration and empire are not marginal events: they are central to our national story. As it stands the story we are telling is incomplete”. The reports findings are contested by the Department of Education, however historian and broadcaster David Olusoga said: “I find it hard to believe that the Windrush scandal could have been possible if we were a country that was aware of and educated in the history of empire, decolonisation and migration after 1945.”
Read more here and find the report itself here.
In research to be presented to the Human Rights Council in July, Tendayi Achiume, the UN’s special rapporteur on racism describes the “structural socioeconomic exclusion” of racial and ethnic minorities in the UK as “striking”. Her report claims that race, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability status all continue to determine the life chances and wellbeing of people in Britain in ways that were “unacceptable and, in many cases, unlawful”, and that austerity measures had been “disproportionately detrimental” to people of racial and ethnic minorities. It also highlights that "these groups were also overrepresented in criminal justice enforcement and underrepresented within the institutions that adjudicate crime and punishment." And: "In a broader context of national anti-immigrant anxiety, the predictable result of the UK government’s immigration policy and enforcement is racial discrimination and racialised exclusion. The Windrush scandal is a glaring example.”
This is the second highly critical UN report on UK government policy to be published in the last month, after a UN poverty expert compared current welfare policies to the creation of 19th-century workhouses and said the UK’s poorest people faced lives that would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” unless austerity was ended.
Read more here. Read the UN Statement on the report here.
A new report that warns that without urgent government action inequality will remain entrenched in Britain “from birth to work”. In its latest State of the Nation report, the Social Mobility Commission said those from better-off backgrounds were nearly 80 per cent more likely to end up in professional jobs than their working-class peers. Even when people from a disadvantaged background land a professional job, they earn 17 per cent less than their privileged colleagues.
Social mobility in the UK has remained "stagnant" since 2014. Dame Martina Milburn, chair of the commission, said: “Being born privileged means you are likely to remain privileged. But being born disadvantaged means you may have to overcome a series of barriers to ensure you and your children are not stuck in the same trap."
The report calls for the government to agree to pay the living wage to all employees and contracted workers, and for a “significant increase” in funding for all 16- to 19-year-olds in education, with a special “student premium” for the disadvantaged. It also recommends extending the offer of 30 hours’ free childcare a week to households where one parent is working eight hours a week – from 16 hours at present – which it said would benefit the most disadvantaged families. Read more here. Access the report and report summary here.
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