On Windrush Day does Manchester City Council actually stand with the Windrush generation? Two press releases in a year might say otherwise…

The ongoing embers of the Windrush scandal continue to glow along with the legacy of British colonialism known as the “commonwealth”. From my limited knowledge of what’s happened – it’s thought to affect around 6,500 citizens who have lived, worked and contributed for many years in this country, mainly of Caribbean heritage, who as a result of the ‘hostile environment’ created by the UK Government / Home Office department were targetted with a constant threat of unemployment, homelessness, detention or deportation from about 2012. It’s a deplorable calamity that was created by racist policies implemented by UK Government targetting those thought to be easiest to deport due to the lack of records held by that very Government. Those affected deserve compensation at the very least. The Home Office were held accountable, reports and inquiries have been published / conducted with a compensation scheme set up in April 2019 with an average payment of £10,000 if incorrectly deported as well as other payments for being made homeless, unemployable or unlawfully detained.

Following the break of the scandal, many institutions issued statements with pledges of solidarity, not repeating history and looking for ways to help. This included Manchester City Council’s reflections a couple of years after the first Windrush day was held on 22 June 2018.

Holding institutions to account when words are not matched with deeds is a central part of both justice and climate action. We were interested to know, following all the fallout from the resignation of prominent Windrush advocate and campaigner Councillor Marcia Hutchinson, who was pushing for more support, if there is a dedicated councillor related to those affected by Windrush, and whether MCC have a record of deeds over words on this issue. 

We found a couple of press statements on their website (here and here) reflecting on the scandal. The response to the below request for information paints a similar picture – all bluster with next to nothing to back it up…

  • No clarity on who has responsibility on Windrush;
  • No evidence of meetings about supporting residents affected by Windrush;
  • A statement that no residents have required extra support, which to us sounds unlikely especially in the current economic situation we find ourselves in; and
  • No events or initiatives beyond those already publicised.

If you’ve been affected by Windrush, GM Law Centre has advice here about the compensation scheme. There’s another Windrush Day Event from 12-6pm on Saturday 25th June in Alexandra Park.

Re: Request for Information – Windrush – Reference Number: FOI/7155

Thank you for your request for information, which was received by Manchester City Council on 07/04/2022 and has been considered under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”).

In response to your request, I have summarised the information as follows:

  1. I understand that the deputy leader Councillor Lufthur Rahman has within his responsibilities a requirement to lead on issues related to the Windrush scandal and the impact of the UK Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ on residents. Is this understanding correct? If so, please state when this was agreed. If this is not correct, what is the stated reason for this?

Councillor Luthfur Rahman is the Deputy Leader and his portfolio includes the Executive Member for Equalities and Community Cohesion role, as of 19 May 2021. This role means Councillor Rahman is the Executive lead for all aspects of the Council’s equalities and community cohesion priorities, including those relating to race. The role does not describe specific responsibilities in relation to individual races, ethnicities, activities or policies.

  1. Since the 24 Jun 2021 press release, how many meetings have taken place between officers or members, including Cllr Rahman, specifically related to how MCC could further support affected residents who may be entitled to claim under the Windrush Compensation Scheme? Please provide any recorded minutes or summaries of such meetings spanning 24 Jun 2021 to 31 Mar 2022 .

I can confirm that we have not identified any further meetings that have taken place.

  1. As of 31st March 2022 how many residents affected by the Windrush scandal has MCC supported through its council tax support scheme following the report to executive on 11 Sep 2019? If you do not know, what is the stated reason for this?

The Council haven’t had any residents where extra support has been required.

  1. Education was mentioned as a ‘key pillar’ of MCC’s work on this issue. Beyond the events and initiatives mentioned in the press release on 24 June 2021, have there been any other events or initiatives that MCC members or officers have hosted or participated in to educate potentially affected residents about the Windrush Compensation Scheme? If so, please provide a list of those events as well as when / where they were held and who from MCC attended. If not, what is the stated reason for this?

I can confirm that there has been no other events or initiatives other than what was mentioned in the press release.

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