PRESS reports this week revealed that vulnerable members of the Windrush generation are still being forced to live in conditions of complete destitution, forced to live on the streets or in temporary accommodation while the threat of deportation hangs over them.
Denied any benefits, unable to obtain any work and therefore deprived of any chance of renting accommodation while the Home Office ‘checks’ their legal right of residency, they are reduced to sleeping on sofas or on the streets.
Despite the pledge by the Tory minister for children, Nadhim Zahawi, a month ago that ‘in two weeks we’ll have dealt with all the Windrush cases, including compensation’ the reality is that nothing has been done for countless numbers of victims of the Tory policy of imposing a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrant workers regardless of their legal right to remain in Britain. In addition, they have been deprived of the right to NHS treatment even for essential life-saving procedures.
Tory lies about the treatment of these workers and their families are endless. First, it was claimed that not a single person from the Windrush generation had been illegally deported – just weeks later it was admitted that 63 had been ‘wrongly’ deported.
Now it turns out that all the Tory pledges to sort out the crisis in weeks are so much hogwash. Investigations uncovered at least a dozen cases of Windrush citizens sleeping rough and living a hand-to-mouth existence, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sally Daghlian, chief executive of the immigration charity Praxis, said: ‘It is not possible to quantify the number of people who have been made homeless. Many may have simply become part of the long-term homeless population, struggling to survive day to day.’
The sheer inhumanity of the Tory hostile immigration regime was evident at the major inquiry that opened this week into the Grenfell Tower inferno that killed 72 people. Delays by the Home Office in granting visas to bereaved relatives who have been granted ‘core participant status’ at the inquiry means that they have been unable to enter the country to attend the hearings despite having applied for visas months ago.
As for the survivors of the inferno, they have been treated with complete contempt by the Tories who pledged to re-house them and their families ‘within three weeks’ of the fire. Now, 11 months later, 72 families are still not re-housed in either permanent or even temporary accommodation.
Far from ensuring that Grenfell would never be repeated, the official government review of building regulations categorically refused to recommend an outright ban on the combustible cladding and insulation that caused the fire. It didn’t even call for a ban on ‘desk top’ risk analysis by the building industry where building materials are not subjected to genuine fire tests, but merely a paper exercise on whether they have caught fire in the past.
The only inference that workers can draw from this is that the profits of the building industry are not just the first but the only consideration of this Tory government. This makes the outright refusal of the Labour and trade union leaders to demand their removal a shameful betrayal of not just the Windrush generation and the victims of Grenfell Tower but the entire working class.
Not once has Corbyn or any trade union leader called for May and the Tories to be thrown out, instead they have made endless calls for the Tories to do something despite the fact that every Tory pledge has proved worthless.
Begging the Tories for help is a useless evasion of the real issue which is that under capitalism the lives of workers and their families count for nothing, only the pursuit of profit is important. If these labour leaders refuse to take any action then the working class must intervene and act by demanding that the TUC call a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will expropriate the building industry, the land and banks as part of a socialist economy that will welcome every worker from across the world to help build a socialist society.