Chair calls on Lord Harrington to address “significant concerns” on support for refugees and local councils
4 May 2022
Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, has written to Lord Harrington, Minister for Refugees, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, expressing “significant concerns” on support for Ukrainian refugees and for local authorities.
The correspondence raises a series of queries relating to the matching of refugees with potential hosts, funding for local authorities, the sharing of data with local councils, and longer-term considerations for supporting refugees in the UK.
Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, said: “Stories of Ukrainian families arriving in the UK, living in single rooms and being forced to declare themselves homeless after fleeing war are adding to concerns that Ukrainian refugees are not getting the support they need. Local authorities will see increasing demands for their services and yet are being told by Government there is no funding to cover this under the Ukraine Family Scheme. The Government needs to step up and put this right.
“Across the country, in each local authority there will no doubt be sponsors who are willing to host refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme. However, the disconnect in the current matching process, means this hospitality is not being taken up. Data should be shared with local authorities so they can match refugees to sponsors as quickly as possible and so that councils can plan the services and resources to support those fleeing from Ukraine.”
Background – LUHC Committee follow-up on support for Ukrainian refugees
The latest letter from Clive Betts, LUHC Committee Chair, follows previous correspondence (19th April) to Lord Harrington, Minister for Refugees, on these issues. Lord Harrington’s reply (27th April), also published today, is available here.
Lord Harrington appeared before the LUHC Committee on Wednesday 30 March. On Wednesday 30 March, Clive Betts also posed questions to the Prime Minister at the Liaison Committee (questions 54-57) on the Government’s support for Ukrainian refugees, with the Prime Minister committing to examining the case for extra funding for local councils to help support refugees arriving under the family scheme.
Lord Harrington responded (on 29 March) to questions raised in correspondence (22 March) from Clive Betts, LUHC Chair, on a range of issues relating to the advice, guidance, administration and co-ordination of the scheme and the support available to local councils to provide services including school places.
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