‘We Want Them to Be Set Up on Their Own’: Brit Vents Anger Over Hosting Ukrainian Refugees
14:40 GMT 20.09.2022 (Updated: 15:21 GMT 28.05.2023)
© AP Photo / Frank AugsteinA woman waits near a donation box at the celebration for the Ukraine Independence day at a celebration in Chichester, south England, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022
© AP Photo / Frank Augstein
A recent poll indicated that at least 30% of current or previous UK sponsors of Ukrainian refugees said that the rising cost of living had considerably affected their ability to provide support under the government’s British Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Lisa Raynes, a resident of the UK city of Stockport, has told the Manchester Evening News how she now feels about hosting two Ukrainian refugees who earlier fled their country following the start of the ongoing Russian special military operation.
She told the media that her family at first thought that “it would be a short-term stay” regarding the Ukrainian couple, and that problems persist, especially now that UK energy bills are on the rise.
Raynes noted that she wants the two “to set up a new life” and “to be set up on their own”, adding that neither the refugees nor her family can “relax properly”.
“We had miscommunications around food and we were double cooking and there was wastage. Everyone has different dietary requirements so it was getting quite tricky. It’s a bit like a flat share where everyone has different tastes. Our shower is running all the time. We’ve already spent the money the council gave us going to get the kids, taking time off from work and that sort of stuff,” the woman pointed out.
According to Manchester Evening News, Raynes is currently eager to find a “compassionate” landlord who is willing to take the Ukrainian family on as tenants once they receive their housing benefit.
Her remarks followed The Mirror reporting that about 50,000 Ukrainian refugees could be made homeless in the UK by 2023 as sponsors of the government’s British Homes for Ukraine scheme are hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis.
More than 90,000 refugees from Ukraine have been matched with UK sponsors since the beginning of the Russian special operation on February 24. With the sponsors getting £350 ($398) a month to house the refugees for at least half a year, official figures suggest that 26% of Britain’s 25,000 hosts have decided against extending the arrangement.
Last month, a survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that less than 25% of Brits who have sheltered Ukrainians under the scheme agree to keep housing them for more than a year.
The poll was preceded by another survey indicating that at least 45 million Brits may be in the grip of fuel poverty by January 2023 due to the looming energy price cap increase.
Although British Prime Minister Liz Truss announced that energy bills would be capped at £2,500 ($2,857) per year from October 1 in line with her plan to tackle the crisis, opposition parties remain downbeat about the move, with Lib Dem leader Ed Davey arguing that “this phony freeze will still leave struggling families and pensioners facing impossible choices this winter as energy bills almost double.”
In late August, UK energy regulator Ofgem revealed that the energy price cap would rise 80% to £3,549 ($4,056) per year for an average British household from October 1.
In February, then-British Foreign Secretary Truss warned that packages of sanctions that London - along with other western countries - had slapped on Moscow in retaliation for its ongoing special military operation in Ukraine would worsen the UK cost-of-living crisis, and that Britain should take an “economic hit”. Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, stressed earlier this year that the West’s anti-Russian sanctions backfired on those who imposed them.