People Want More Ukrainian Refugees To Come To The UK, New Poll Finds
The public are in favour of continuing to accept Ukrainian refugees (Alamy)
Exclusive: A new poll has found continued support for the Homes for Ukraine scheme, with a majority of the people surveyed believing payments to UK hosts should either continue or increase to help offset cost of living increases.
The new study conducted for think tank, More In Common, found 57 per cent of people believed the UK should continue to accept more Ukrainian refugees compared to just 27 per cent who think the programme should stop.
Over 140,000 refugees have settled in the UK since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine in February, with a significant majority arriving as part of the government's Homes for Ukraine scheme which matches UK households with people who have fled the country.
Nearly 40 per cent were also supportive of continuing the £350-a-month payments provided to hosts to help offset rising household bills, while over a quarter (26 per cent) wanted to see the payments increased.
PoliticsHome recently reported that plans to double the monthly payment, championed by former refugee minister Lord Harrington, had been put on pause by the Treasury.
The figures, which show just 15 per cent of people support scrapping the payments, will put further pressure on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to recommit to the scheme in next week's Budget statement.
"As we enter the winter it is now more important that if we are to avoid unnecessary increases in homelessness, hosts and refugees are given certainty about the scheme," Luke Tryl, UK Director of More In Common, told PoliticsHome.
He added: "With two-thirds of Britons saying that support payments need to be maintained or increased, there is clear public demand for the Treasury to commit to long-term support for the scheme, something they should do at the forthcoming Budget."
Ministers have faced criticism over their handling of the scheme, with recent government figures showing that the number of Ukrainian households presenting to their local council as homeless had risen by nearly 40 per cent in the last two months.
Shadow homelessness minister Paula Barker told PoliticsHome that ministers had failed to prepare for the "crisis" because they were "distracted" by leadership chaos during the summer.
"The government were warned on the day they launched ‘Homes for Ukraine’ about the risk of homelessness when placements came to an end, and there have been repeated warnings since," she said.
"While the Conservatives were distracted by not one but two leadership elections, ministers failed to prepare for a crisis which was clearly looming, and which has now arrived."
Tryl said local authorities with at-risk refugees should follow the lead of some councils who have chosen to use their own budgets to increase payments to hosts in a bid to protect them from the impacts of the cost of living crisis during winter.
The figures also found broad support for creating a Homes for Ukraine style model to support other refugees arriving in the UK, with 44 per cent backing community involvement in helping with housing, finding a job or learning English.
Just 28 per cent of those polled said they would not support a similar scheme for other refugee groups, while 29 per cent said they neither supported or opposed the proposals.
The Home Office continues to struggle to find accommodation for asylum seekers, with ministers spending nearly £4m each day on hotel rooms for new arrivals.
Public First polled 2,030 adults across Great Britain between 1-3 November.
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