British families who have taken in Ukrainian refugees will see their “thank you” payments doubled, the minister in charge of the scheme suggested on Sunday as he resigned from the Government.
Lord Harrington has stood down after six months as refugees minister, declaring his job of designing a system to bring Ukrainians to the UK as “essentially complete”.
He said he had successfully argued for support payments to families who host refugees in the UK to be doubled from £350 to £700 a month.
“I actually feel now it doesn’t need a separate minister because you have got a really good team to do it, and they can report on a monthly basis to the new Secretary of State,” he said.
“So I felt it was an opportune moment anyway and it certainly was not a political statement about this leader or that leader, or anything like that.”
‘I believe the argument is won’
Asked by Times Radio whether he had secured agreement from Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak to double the support payments, Lord Harrington added: “I have not had that conversation with them.
“I have had conversations about the programme generally, but I know whoever is elected as the new prime minister will make sure that the funding is in place there to do it.
“So I’m very optimistic about that. I believe the argument is won.”
So far more than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have been settled in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine and Ukraine Family schemes announced by the Government in March.
But an official survey found that some of the families who had welcomed refugees had struggled with the cost of housing, and were looking to quit the scheme after six months.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said on Sunday he was “concerned” when he heard Boris Johnson was resigning and hoped his successor would be as supportive of his country.
“When we learned that there would be a change of government, all of us were concerned,” he told The Sunday Times.
“Johnson was supporting us and a lot depends on the leader. The leader is the one who communicates.
“The leader is the one that mediates between a country and its people, and a leader has an impact upon society.”