Russia Ukraine: Sheffield Council gives update on whether city will accommodate refugees

Sheffield Council says it is awaiting further information from the Government about whether the city will take in Ukrainian refugees.

Thursday, 10th March 2022, 10:09 am

Councillors of all political parties showed their solidarity with the Ukraine by holding a rally and debate at full council last week.

Lord Mayor Gail Smith said: “I just want to say how sad we all are. Here in Sheffield, we are proud to have become the first City of Sanctuary in this country and our arms are wide open.

“It’s up to the government now. We need them to allow us to bring people to Sheffield and make them feel safe.”

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Sheffield councillors held a rally to show their support of the Ukraine but there are questions about the city taking in refugees

But there are questions about whether the government would give the council enough funding to support refugees.

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, urged the Government not to leave local authorities with the costs of its refugee programme.He called on the Home Secretary to give local authorities the necessary funding to support and house any Ukrainians coming to the UK under the new scheme.

“Vague commitments are made about supporting local authorities, schools and refugees but then it never actually materialises in extra funding.

“This leaves local authorities with a huge increase in workload without the necessary resources or support to implement it.

“This approach of burdening local government further without helping them pay for it will not end well.”

22,000 Ukrainians have applied for a UK visa

There is also an issue about where any refugees would be housed. In September 2021 the council pledged to relocate 26 Afghan refugees.

But Coun Paul Wood, Executive member for housing, was unhappy about them being placed in hotels.

At the time, he said: “The council has, to date, not been required to use hotel accommodation for its own placements. We are working with landlords in the city to increase the type and range of homes to support any new arrivals.

“The council is working with the Home Office on future plans. We have always maintained that hotels are not appropriate for housing refugees, but the Home Office has, on occasions, thought otherwise.”