by Liberty Corrie and George Cooke
A Norfolk MP has cricitised those offering to rehome Ukrainian Refugees without having the money to support them.
Duncan Baker, the member for North Norfolk, became the first MP to take in Ukrainian refugees. In April 2022, a 7 year-old boy and his mother moved into their family home from Kyiv. He has urged people who are thinking about rehoming a Ukrainian family to only do so if they can afford it.
“I think it’s absolutely appalling that I’m hearing of Ukrainian families going to the food bank because the host family is unable to feed them,” said Mr Baker. “They shouldn’t have taken that responsibility on for another family if they didn’t have the means to take care of them properly.”
So far, over 160,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to the UK with government-issued visas. However, a further 20,000 people in the Ukraine Family Scheme are yet to arrive.
“For those people who took a refugee in and thought this was for six months, and are now struggling because they can’t cope with a family living with them for two years, you have to question the sense around that.”
Under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, refugees are eligible for a one-off grant of £200, as well as access to benefits. Sponsors of families can also claim £350 a month. However, both refugees and sponsors are now having to tackle the rising cost of living.
Mr Baker, who says MPs call him “Mr Ukraine”, rehomed a mother and her child who fled Kyiv last year. He called the experience “phenomenally rewarding.”
Mr Baker will continue to provide his home to the refugees until the end of the conflict.
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