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NW Norfolk MP James Wild backs Homes for Ukraine scheme

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Many people fleeing the Russian onslaught in Ukraine travel by train from Kyiv to Lviv and onward.

Due to the trains carrying many more passengers than normal capacity, they travel more slowly for safety reasons with the journey taking eight or nine hours. Alongside those defending their homeland, these unassuming Ukrainian Railways drivers are playing a crucial role in helping men, women, children – and their pets – to safety. And on return journeys they bring medical supplies, food, and other aid.

The UN’s Refugee Agency estimates that more than 2.8 million people have been forced to flee the country as refugees.

Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme website.
Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme website.

It is right that the UK helps support people suffering this appalling humanitarian crisis. The new Ukrainian sponsorship scheme – Homes for Ukraine – will allow people without any family ties to the UK to be sponsored by individuals or organisations who can offer them a home. There is no limit to the number of people who can benefit from this route.

Under phase one of the scheme, sponsors in the UK nominate a named Ukrainian individual or family to stay with them. Ukrainians coming to the UK will be granted leave to remain for three years and will have full and immediate access to benefits, healthcare, and other support. Individual sponsors will be asked to provide homes or a spare room rent-free for as long as they are able, with a minimum stay of six months. In recognition of the effort, the government will provide a monthly payment of £350.

Charities, faith groups and community organisations are helping to facilitate connections between individuals, for potential sponsors who do not have a named contact in the UK. Of course, it is important that people are safe when they come here and sponsors will undergo vetting checks.

More than 100,000 people registered an interest in participating within a day of the scheme being launched demonstrating the incredible compassion towards those suffering from Putin’s appalling war.

This scheme sits alongside the family visa route. I welcome the changes that have been made so that people with a Ukrainian passport can apply online without having to travel to a visa application centre to provide biometric details. It is frustrating that this process was not in place from the start but it should now be easier for visas to be issued. I continue to assist constituents in expediting their applications.

The impact of the war on the global economy with increasing costs and inflationary pressures are already apparent although the longer term impact will depend on how the conflict unfolds. Against that backdrop, the Chancellor will shortly set out his spring statement. He is aware of the challenges people are facing with making ends meet – he has already put in place help with energy bills and I’m sure he will listen to the concerns MPs are putting to him.

New figures show that the number of payroll employees has increased again to a record 29.7 million. This is welcome but with vacancies locally, and across the country, there is more to do to help get people into work so they and their families have greater economic security.

James Wild

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