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Ukraine refugees – Clive Betts, Levelling-Up Committee Chair, writes to Lord Harrington on Homes for Ukraine concerns

24 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, concerning recent reports of problems with the operation of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, including delays in criminal records checks for UK hosts and of accounts of Ukrainian refugees being forced into temporary accommodation such as B&Bs.

The correspondence (24th May) raises a series of questions relating to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks and accommodation checks, the sharing of data information with councils, and the prospect of a light-touch regime around accommodation checks to help bring Ukrainian refugees to safety in the UK as quickly as possible.

Chair's comment

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee, said: “There continue to be concerns about how the Homes for Ukraine scheme is operating, about the speed in helping refugees arrive, around delays in DBS and accommodation checks, and concerns that Ukrainians who have arrived in the UK are finding themselves homeless after their initial place fell through or family members could not host them.

“There is a glaring disconnect in the current matching process which means the hospitality being offered by sponsors is not being taken up. The Government needs to up its game and speed up data sharing with local authorities so they can match refugees to suitable sponsors as quickly as possible and so councils can line up the resources and services to support those fleeing from Ukraine.”

The LUHC Committee has invited Lord Harrington to give evidence to the Committee at a public hearing in June.

Background – LUHC Committee follow-up on support for Ukrainian refugees

The latest letter (24th May) from Clive Betts, LUHC Committee Chair, follows previous correspondence to Lord Harrington (4th May) expressing “significant concerns” about support for Ukrainian refugees and for local authorities and which asked for responses to a series of questions 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.

This followed earlier correspondence (19th April) to Lord Harrington, Minister for Refugees, on these issues. Lord Harrington’s reply (27th April) 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.

Further information

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