Ukraine: Are any Lancashire MPs taking in Ukrainian refugees as part of the scheme?

Three Lancashire MP’s have told the Post whether they are considering offering accommodation to Ukrainian refugees.

By Aimee Seddon
Friday, 18th March 2022, 12:30 pm

Today (March 18), the Home for Ukraine scheme has officially launched, which involves people in the UK offering up a room in their home for a refugee fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The Post contacted numerous Lancashire MPs to ask if they were taking part, and we received responses from three of them.

While all three say they thoroughly support the scheme, neither could confirm whether they were taking part, for various reasons.

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MPs Katherine Fletcher, Cat Smith and Ben Wallace have spoken to the Post about their involvement in the Home for Ukraine scheme.

A spokesperson for Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, who is the MP for Preston North and Wyre said: “He can if he will but for him there are obviously security issues. As Defence Secretary, it’s a harder bar, but if he can, he will.”

Cat Smith, the MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: “Like an increasing proportion of the population, I rent my home from a private landlord so I am not able to take part in the scheme. I would have liked to have been in a position where I was able to, but regretfully cannot.”

In order to take part in the scheme, you must have an available space in a property you own, not rent, which therefore means 19 per cent of the UK’s households are ineligible to participate, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Housing.

Meanwhile, Katherine Fletcher, the MP for South Ribble had a different reason for not wishing to confirm her involvement in the Home for Ukraine scheme.

She explained: “I am looking on the situation in Ukraine with horror, Putin must fail in this terrible war - and like many in Lancashire I am considering taking in people fleeing this barbaric violence, to give them a safe home.

“However if I do or don't I will not be speaking publicly about it. That's not to imply criticism of those that do want to talk about it, but I am very conscious of the risks and issues that come with having a public profile.

“Is it fair to potentially expose an already traumatised Ukrainian to media scrutiny, just because I have a public facing job? Would I put them at further risk if people know they are living with me?

“I would encourage anyone who feels they can make a long term commitment to help someone to do so, but when I decide you won't hear either way.

“Giving people safe refuge, and a home for a human to thrive, is not easily done in full public view when you are an MP, and ultimately that is what this new scheme needs to do.”

The Post had also contacted Sir Mark Hendrick, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Rosie Cooper, Nigel Evans, and Mark Menzies but have yet to had responses.

The Government’s Home for Ukraine Scheme allows Ukrainian refugees without family members in the UK to apply for visas.

So far over 150,000 Britons have registered their interest in taking part, and refugees with someone to sponsor them will be able to apply from today.

Those who do take in Ukrainian refugees will receive a “thank you” payment of £350 per month for taking part in the scheme.

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