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On 21 April 2020, the second reading of the Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords.

In late 2017, the Guardian published a series of articles drawing attention to certain immigration cases. These articles highlighted the cases of longstanding UK residents who were facing deportation because of difficulties proving their lawful immigration status. Over the following months, continued coverage told stories of individuals who had lost jobs and homes, as well as their access to healthcare and the welfare state, because of these issues. This group is often referred to as the Windrush generation, named after the Empire Windrush, one of the first ships that brought workers from the Caribbean to the UK to fill labour shortages following the second world war. As a result, the problem became known as the Windrush scandal. However, individuals from non-Caribbean countries were also affected.

In April 2018, the Government acknowledged that members of the Windrush generation, and other Commonwealth citizens, had been treated unfairly. To address the issues, it announced the creation of the Windrush compensation scheme in addition to other actions. The purpose of the scheme is to compensate claimants for their losses and impacts suffered.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme (Expenditure) Bill would give parliamentary authorisation for Windrush compensation scheme expenditure. Until the bill is passed, a ministerial direction is providing authority for payments.

The bill received cross-party support at second reading in the House of Commons on 10 February 2020. However, concerns were raised about the scheme itself. During committee stage on 24 March 2020, MPs tabled and debated amendments to the bill, but no amendments were voted on. Because no amendments were made at committee stage, the bill was not debated at report stage. At third reading—which took place on the same day as committee—the opposition parties set out their continued support of the bill in principle, despite issues with the scheme. The bill passed without division.

The bill is a ‘money bill’. This means it can receive royal assent without being passed by the House of Lords, and also that the House of Commons is not obliged to consider any amendments made by the Lords. It is normal practice for such bills not to be committed to a committee stage in the Lords, instead going directly from second to third reading.

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