Polling Shows Huge Public Support For UK Granting Visas To At Least 100,000 Ukrainian Refugees
A majority of people surveyed on the UK's response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis think the government should grant visas to at least 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.
Ministers have faced fierce criticism over the UK's response to the crisis with only around 1,000 Ukrainian refugees granted visas since the invasion began.
Details of a new scheme to allow companies, charities and individuals the opportunity to sponsor Ukrainians to come to the UK even if they do not have a direct family link are due to be announced next week, but the number of visas granted is still predicted to be lower than for other European countries.
New polling conducted exclusively for PoliticsHome and The House found that 14% of people believed between 50,000 and 100,000 should be allowed to come to the UK, while 13% of respondents believed at least 200,000 should be granted visas.
The polling was conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies who surveyed 1,500 eligible votes on 9 March, as Priti Patel worked to deflect widespread criticism that the UK government was not going far enough to support Ukrainian refugees.
On Friday the government confirmed that the sponsorship visa route will allow households to offer homes to Ukrainians fleeing their war-torn country. According to the latest UN estimates, as many as 2.3 million people had fled Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
A further 13% of people surveyed believed visas should be offered to up to 1,000,000 Ukrainians. The same percentage believed more than one million refugees should be allowed to come to the UK.
But the figures showed respondents did not believe ministers would actually grant that many visas, with 22% of people thinking fewer than 5,000 refugees would actually be given permission to enter the UK. Just 11% believed the number of visas granted would be between 50,000 and 100,000.
There also appeared to be concern among those surveyed that government services did not have the capacity to handle a signficiant number of refugees.
Almost half of respondants – 43% – felt the system was not prepared for the crisis compared to 33% who believe it is.
The survey also looked at the wider impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including on the UK's energy market, which had already seen already seen a significant increase in prices.
With energy prices continuing to rise further as a result of the invasion, two-thirds of people now support or strongly support the government dropping their Net Zero pledges to help keep household energy costs down. Only 6% of respondants opposed dropping the climate measures while 5% who strongly opposed.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has defended his new package of support to help tackle the cost of living crisis, including a £150 council tax rebate, but a majority – 56% – of people believe their financial situation will worsen over the next year, with just 22% expecting their finances to improve.
Only a quarter of people agreed or strongly agreed that the Conservative Party currently stood for lower taxes, compared to 18% who disagreed and 22% who strongly disagreed.
But people were largely positive about Prime Minister Boris Johnson's overall response to the Ukraine crisis, with 51% saying the approved or strongly approved of his actions, compared to just 20% who disapproved or strongly disapproved.
That compared to 34% of the public who approved of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's response, while 36% neither approved or disapproved.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who has been heavily criticised for her handling of the visa system, fared poorly, with 38% of respondents disapproving of her response, compared to just 17% who approved of her work since the crisis began.
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