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UK adopted ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme but didn’t cancel a strange ‘bedroom tax’ for its participants who live in social housing.

Byline Times says:

“According to a recent parliamentary question, almost half a million people who have been paying the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ will continue to be charged – even if their additional room is filled by a Ukrainian refugee seeking sanctuary under the Government scheme allowing volunteers to host individuals in their home. 

The controversial tax – officially known as the spare room subsidy – was introduced by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government and punishes social housing tenants for having a spare room in their home. 

A tenant affected by the bedroom tax could lose up to £25 a week, according to 2015 estimates – a quarter of the £350 tax-free monthly Government payment handed out to all Homes for Ukraine hosts.  

Boris Johnson promised that the new scheme would be “a route by which everybody in this country can offer a home to people fleeing Ukraine” – but the very poorest face an additional barrier if they want to have the same “rewarding” and “humbling experience” as former Government minister Robert Jenrick by participating in the scheme”.

Last week, Minister for Welfare Delivery, David Rutley, made it clear that people liable for the bedroom tax would continue to lose out on the spare room subsidy, despite their spare room being filled by Ukrainian refugees fleeing Putin’s invasion. 

In response to a parliamentary question by Labour MP Anneliese Dodds, Rutley said: “Under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme the Ukrainian nationals are treated as not normally residing with their host. This means that there is no change to the number of bedrooms which the claimant is entitled to under the removal of the spare room subsidy.”

When Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove introduced the Homes for Ukraine scheme, he reminded the House of Commons of the UK’s “long and proud history of supporting the most vulnerable during their darkest hours”. 

I don’t quite understand what social housing in UK is and why a special tax was considered necessary if people live in social housing.

In fact a lot of refugees live in much worse conditions then ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme suppose.  An American humanitarian worker of Ukrainian origin describes refugees camp in Poland:

“staying in Poland is not an option as it is overcrowded with refugees. Sakurets described the crisis center in which she volunteered, where there were 2,500 people with just two indoor bathrooms.

“The reality is they can’t stay … immediately we had GI [gastrointestinal] issues and no real way to isolate anyone,” Sakurets said. “[There was] lots of COVID, no one wore masks [and there were] people sleeping immediately right next to each other.” 

The unsafe conditions in these centers forced people out and into foreign countries where their futures were unclear. Sakurets described the fear these mothers had and how it differed from their children’s innocent perspective in this situation”.

According to Switzerland State Secretariat for Migration the whole number of Ukrainian refugees Ukrainian refugees have reached 5,5 millions outside Ukraine and 7,7 millions inside the country (see picture above).

Author

unreporterua@gmail.com
I'm a freelancer based in Ukraine, l write mostly about details of life in a country during war. There won't be any military stuff, propaganda, war horrors hype or any violation of actual legislation in this blog. If you want to support my work send a donation as a friend at PayPal address unreporterua@gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Couple of quotes on life of Ukrainian refugees

  1. The UK situation is certainly confusing. This is no time to monetize anything. People need to be taken care of. We have refugees coming into our part of North America as well & we hope for more. There is lots of room here. It’s just so far away from Ukraine. Take care. We continue to think of you.

    1. Probably they decided to change refugees’ policy for some reasons; it is difficult to say why. As far as I understand ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme was mostly aimed at social housing tenants, now they might be demotivated to take part in it.

  2. The UK (actually it is just the English part…. the Celtic nations of the UK are great) is such an embarrassment – we have an inward looking ‘small island’ racist right wing government who lurch from one disaster to another. As if Brexit was not bad enough and a huge backward step… and Yes, the bedroom tax is a disgrace. If you live in social housing and there is a spare room in the property, you are taxed on it to force you to move out. So for example if a family of mum, dad and son live in social housing and the son dies or leaves home, the couple are charged a tax for the spare bedroom. This government hates the poor, along with just about everyone else..

    1. This tax is not logical indeed. The current crisis just highlightened it, it highlights everything. As far as I see there are a small number of refugees in UK, most of them stay in Poland, so it is of little importance in terms of refugees. It is just strange.

  3. It is a policy that has been in place for all social tenants for a few years now, and is not to do with the Ukraine situation. This current government hates poor people, along with disabled, old, ethnic etc.

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