UK refugee scheme set to launch: Ukraine War

A website enabling people to express an interest in helping – for which they will receive a “thank you” of £350 a month – will then go live.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said the plan could benefit tens of thousands of displaced people.

Meanwhile, the PM spoke to Ukrainian President Zelensky on Sunday night.

Boris Johnson pledged “to pursue more options for bolstering Ukraine’s self-defence”, No 10 says, and discussed efforts to end the war.

He also condemned the murders of [American journalist] Brent Renaud and countless innocent Ukrainians, Downing Street said.

The government is to send 500 portable electricity generators for use in facilities such as hospitals and shelters which have lost power following the invasion – something President Volodymyr Zelensky made a direct request for.

Mr Johnson is hosting a series of meetings with Nordic and Baltic leaders in London and Chequers this week.

No 10 says he will urge them to work together to ensure no further nations fall victim to Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

Under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, people in the UK will be able to nominate an individual or family to stay with them rent-free, or in another property, for at least six months.

Applications will be made online, with both hosts and refugees being vetted. Hosts will receive £350 a month.

Organisations such as charities and churches will eventually be able to sponsor refugees, though there is no start date for this phase of the scheme yet.

Local authorities will also receive £10,500 in extra funding per refugee for support services – with more for children of school age.

‘Too mean’

The NSPCC said, while it wanted the Homes for Ukraine scheme to happen as quickly as possible, it had concerns about safety checks on prospective hosts.

The children’s charity said it was “vital child protection is built into every stage of the government’s and local authorities’ response to this crisis”.

The government has faced criticism – including from its own MPs – over the speed and scale of its response.

Conservative MP Danny Kruger told the BBC the Home Secretary “must take responsibility” for the problems Ukrainian refugees have faced in coming to the UK.

And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described the UK’s assistance for refugees as “too slow, too narrow, too mean”.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said on Sunday Home Secretary Priti Patel should be sacked for “incompetence, indifference and sheer inhumanity” in leading the response.

The Home Office has defended requiring security checks on Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion, saying they need to ensure the UK helps those in genuine need.

It says it has already seen people falsely claim to be Ukrainian.

More than 2.5 million refugees have left the country because of Russia’s invasion with a further 1.85 million displaced inside the country, according to latest estimates by the UN Refugee Agency.

Meanwhile, 21 Ukrainian children with cancer will shortly begin NHS treatment in the UK, the health secretary said.

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