Posted: Wed 2nd Mar 2022

Welsh Government urged to support Local Authorities to ensure quick response to Ukrainian refugee situation

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Mar 2nd, 2022

Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Vladimir Putin shocked the world when he launched an invasion of Ukraine in the early hours of last Thursday.

Ukrainians have fled into Poland and other neighbouring countries in the wake of the Russian invasion.

In an emergency question to the First Minister on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, North Wales MS Mark Isherwood called on him to ensure the Welsh Government provides local authorities with support “to enable and encourage them to come forward with a quicker ability to provide support to refugees than occurred with the Syrian programme”.

Speaking in the Senedd Chamber on Tuesday, Mr Isherwood welcomed the extension of the UK Government Family Scheme to help those fleeing Ukraine, but emphasised the need for Local Authorities to be generous and fast in their response.

He said:  “Russia is a magnificent country with wonderful people, abominably led into disastrous actions with terrible consequences. But, following the theme of much of the questioning, further to confirmation by the UK Government yesterday that up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees are already eligible to come to the UK after measures announced in recent weeks, giving British Nationals and any persons settled in the UK the ability to bring over their immediate Ukrainian family members, the Prime Minister has announced from Poland this morning that the UK is extending the family scheme and could take in 200,000 or more Ukrainian refugees as the UK Government extends its scheme to help those fleeing the invasion of their sovereign, democratic, European country by international war criminal Putin.

“In the Written Statement we received I think just as you started speaking today on ‘the war in Ukraine’, you say you’re holding urgent discussions with local authority leaders to ensure that preparations are in place to accept refugees, and obviously you’re engaging with the UK Government about the wider, joined-up, UK four-Government approach.

“How will you ensure that we learn lessons from the Syrian Resettlement Scheme, where local authorities were asked to volunteer the number of families they could take on board, where some were quick to respond and some were generous in their responses, but some were slow and less generous, stating that they lacked the resources to deliver?

“So, in addition to the £4 million you’ve announced to help the people of Ukraine, how will you be supporting the Local Authorities to enable and encourage them to come forward with a quicker ability to provide support than occurred with the Syrian programme?”

The First Minister agreed that lessons must be learnt “from the Syrian experience and the more recent Afghan experience”.

He added:“I think all local authorities in Wales have played an enormously positive part at a time when there are huge demands on their own resources and their own housing services. But, in the face of the unprovoked attack on Ukraine, I think they will want to go further.”

Flintshire Council has said it is ready to support any refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine if asked by UK and Welsh governments.

The Leader of Flintshire County Council, Councillor Ian Roberts, told Deeside.com:

“I am sure many of us are shocked and saddened by the events unfolding in Ukraine and hope and pray for a peaceful solution to this crisis.”

“As a County of Sanctuary, Flintshire stands ready to support any actions that the UK and Welsh Governments ask us to take with regard to supporting refugees involved in this terrible situation.”

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