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Tory Ministers Do not Know Who Is In Cost Of Ukraine Refugee Scheme


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Tory Ministers Don't Know Who Is In Charge Of Ukraine Refugee Scheme

Liz Truss has did not appoint a brand new refugee minister (Alamy)

John Johnston

3 min learn

Ministers are unable to say who’s in control of supporting Ukrainian refugees within the UK following the resignation of Lord Harrington, who oversaw the federal government’s flagship Houses for Ukraine scheme, over a month in the past.

The federal government has confronted anger from Labour and UK refugee hosts over their failure to nominate somebody new to the place. 

The Tory peer Lord Harrington stepped down in early September from his position overseeing the UK’s refugee programme for Ukrainians who’ve fled their properties following Putin’s invasion.

In his resignation letter, which got here simply days earlier than the tip of the Conservative management contest, Harrington mentioned his work was “primarily full” and claimed his choice may “save on a ministerial publish” for the incoming chief. Liz Truss has vowed to cut back the variety of ministerial positions, which had swelled beneath her predecessor Boris Johnson. 

The Houses for Ukraine scheme, for which Residence Workplace and the Division for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has twin duty, asks British hosts to offer accomodation for a minimal six month interval in change for a £350-a-month fee aimed toward serving to offset a rise in family payments. There have been rising considerations that the tip of the six month interval may result in a surge in homelessness as many refugees proceed to wrestle to seek out new lodging within the UK.

In Harrington’s absence, there’s now no one in authorities immediately answerable for over 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who’ve already arrived within the UK beneath the scheme. 

One host within the UK informed PoliticsHome they’d been “screaming out” for assist from authorities, reflecting anger amongst these concerned with the scheme over the failure to place somebody new in cost. 

“It is appalling there isn’t a one. A lot of hosts had been essential of [Harrington] however at the least he was attempting to kind out the problems,” they mentioned. “The truth that ministers do not know who’s in cost is appalling.”

At the launch of a Conservative Pals of Ukraine group at Conservative occasion convention final week, international secretary James Cleverly insisted the federal government would double down on its dedication to assist the nation. However when challenged by PoliticsHome, he didn’t say who was overseeing Harrington’s former transient. 

Safety minister Tom Tugendhat, who additionally appeared on the occasion, couldn’t verify who in authorities was immediately answerable for refugees. “I do not know I am afraid,” he informed PoliticsHome

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko known as for “extra hospitality, extra generosity, extra endurance” from the UK authorities, however mentioned he remained “fascinated” by the continued paperwork across the visa course of.

“We’ll always remember this, this act, this kindness,” he informed Conservative members in Birmingham. 

However Prystaiko expressed frustration with continued delays on visas for Ukrainians arriving within the UK which he has repeatedly criticised for being overly sophisticated, and has requested be considerably simplified for these fleeing the conflict.

“Please, someone do one thing with the visas, lastly,” he continued.

“The place is International Secretary Cleverly? That is only a shame, , I’ve to inform you.”

Shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy informed PoliticsHome Truss had “squandered” the generosity of British hosts. 

“Liz Truss has left the publish of Refugees Minister empty for a month regardless of the very actual prospect of a homelessness emergency this winter,” she mentioned.

“It might be shameful if Ukrainian households who fled the bombs and bullets of Putin discover themselves homeless in Britain. The federal government has had months to organize for this however we nonetheless haven’t seen a correct plan to keep away from a disaster.

“British households confirmed wonderful generosity in opening their properties to determined folks in want. The federal government has already squandered a lot of that generosity. It can not fail to do its job once more.”

The Residence Workplace and Division for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have been approached for remark.

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