The Home Office has denied reports that it has sought to gag beneficiaries of compensation for the Windrush generation by forcing them to sign non-disclosure agreements.
A report in the Independent said a non-disclosure agreement had been imposed on at least one person and another been approached, despite home secretary Sajid Javid having told MPs last month: “No one will be asked to sign any kind of non-disclosure agreement or anything like that.”
The government last month launched a consultation on a compensation scheme for those who have suffered hardship because they were unable to prove they had the right to live in the UK despite some decades of residence.
In a letter sent to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Javid said in some cases the Home Office was prepared to fast-track its compensation scheme, and that such offers are “sometimes accompanied by confidentiality clauses”.
But a Home Office spokesperson said: “The case referred to in the letter to the Home Affairs Select Committee predated the Windrush Compensation Scheme.
“There will be no requirement or need to sign a non-disclosure agreement for any individual who receives compensation through this scheme, and the home secretary has already made clear his intention to take this different approach for the Windrush generation.”
The Home Office said non-disclosure agreements were used in asylum or immigration compensation cases to protect individual identities and would “categorically not be used in the Windrush Compensation Scheme”.
It said Javid wished to give the Home Office a more human face and to right past wrongs and a ‘lessons learnt’ review would take place of the Windrush affair.
Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said it was “totally unacceptable for the [government] to impose non-disclosure agreements on [the] Windrush generation. The Home Office cannot buy the silence of citizens that have been wronged by the Tories 'hostile environment'.”