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More than 40,000 Brits offer to house Ukrainian refugees

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ens of thousands of British householders offered to house Ukrainian refugees within hours of a sponsorship scheme being launched.

The UK Government set out details of a scheme on Monday allowing individuals and organisations to offer a home to refugees fleeing the invasion by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove announced the “Homes for Ukraine” initiative as the Government scrambled to make it easier for people to come to the UK following widespread criticism of its response so far.

More than 43,000 households have already offered to take in refugees from the war-torn country as part of the scheme, according to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

A spokesman said that figure was correct as of 9.30pm on Monday but was “continuing to rise”.

He confirmed that the Homes For Ukraine website “temporarily stalled” after it went live late on Monday afternoon due to the “enormous generosity of the British public” in offering to take in those fleeing the conflict with Russia.

Almost three million people have fled Ukraine since Mr Putin ordered the Russian invasion and civilians continued to find themselves caught up in the fighting.

In the Commons, Mr Gove said the Ukrainian people were “the victims of savage, indiscriminate, unprovoked aggression” and “their courage under fire and their determination to resist inspires our total admiration”.

Previously only Ukrainians with family members already settled in the UK could come.

Donate here: Please give what you can to the Evening Standard Ukraine appeal

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But under the new scheme, sponsors can provide a route for Ukrainians without family ties to come to the UK. There is no limit to numbers that could come, he said.

Mr Gove said “in recognition of their generosity” a tax-free monthly payment of £350 will be provided to people for each family they look after.

Sponsors can be of any nationality as long as they have permission to be in the UK for at least six months.

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