UK

MPs vow to keep housing refugees under Homes For Ukraine scheme

T

wo Tory MPs say they will continue to accommodate Ukrainian refugees beyond the minimum six-month period expected of hosts under the Homes for Ukraine (HfU) scheme.

In March, the Government launched HfU so people could sponsor refugees fleeing the war-torn country by offering a spare room or home for at least six months.

As Wednesday marked Ukraine’s independence day and six months since Russia invaded, two Tory MPs pledged to continue hosting beyond the half-year minimum.

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis, an environment minister, started hosting a Ukrainian refugee, Vika, then 25, in March.

She told PA news agency: “I will continue to host Vika under ‘Homes for Ukraine’ for as long as she needs the help and support.

Sviatik is at the local school with my children and Anna the mother is teaching at the school where I helped get her a job. We are committed to helping them until it is safe to return home

“I would also like to say that I feel host families are doing an amazing job and I’m sure will continue to host where they can.

“They should be thanked enormously for what they have done, if they feel six months is enough.”

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has also agreed to continue hosting under HfU, after he opened his home to a mother, 35, and her six-year-old son in April.

He told PA: “Yes, we are continuing to look after our refugees.

“Sviatik is at the local school with my children and Anna the mother is teaching at the school where I helped get her a job.

“We are committed to helping them until it is safe to return home.

“We expect this will be for another year and are taking steps to do this so they have greater independence as they settle into North Norfolk.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also took in a family of Ukrainian refugees in April.

After unveiling an infrastructure deal to help rebuild Ukraine on Thursday, he said: “They’ve been with us for more than four months now, I think, so they’ve lived with us for a long time.”

He added: “Seeing how they’re settling in, the child’s gone to school and learning English, and all of those different things – you know, of course, makes it very real.

“I think the whole country, the whole of our country, has found something in common with what’s happened in Ukraine.”

Refugees minister Richard Harrington this week said about 25,000 offers of accommodation from hosts under HfU have been taken up so far, with an average of three Ukrainians living in each home.

He has been lobbying the Treasury “very hard” to double the £350-a-month “thank you” payment for sponsors who house refugees for longer than half a year.

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