Three councils who work in partnership to deliver local services are calling on the Government to do more to support the Homes for Ukraine scheme. This Government scheme, set up earlier this year, currently only covers 12 months, with councils left to support the guests and hosts thereafter.
Councillor Tim Gwilliam, Leader of Forest of Dean District Council, said; “The Government set up this scheme 6 months ago to help the people of Ukraine. Over that time our councils have been working with our partners to welcome people from Ukraine and provide support to the people hosting them. Councils and others asked at the time what the plan was for when the initial scheme came to an end.”
“However, now the initial six months period has come to an end, local councils have been left with very little clarity and support from Government on how we continue to ensure our Ukrainian guests are to be helped over the coming months with the cost of living making things harder for the hosts and guests and with sadly no end to the war in sight.”
Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said; “The hosts in our areas and across the country have been amazing, but six months in we are seeing some unable to continue, and a lot of those who previously expressed an interest to act as hosts can no longer do so.
“Without a clear plan from the Government for how the scheme will continue after twelve months, it is leaving councils in a position where we are struggling to find homes for the Ukranians living here. In the current climate it’s very challenging for them to find a home for themselves when many have come here with very little and we cover some of the most expensive places to live in the country.”
Councillor Joe Harris, Leader of Cotswold District Council, said; “On behalf of the hosts and guests in our areas we are calling on the Government to do more and provide local councils with a clear plan on how we can support our Ukrainian guests over the coming months and past the end of the initial scheme.
“We are doing all we can, and will continue to do so with the resources we have available, but without additional Government support there are risks for those who have fled their country to come here under the promise of the Government’s help.
“We don’t want to see any of our guests ending up in our homelessness system, but unfortunately that may be the outcome if the Government doesn’t create a plan to follow up on their initial promise.”