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Spalding family criticises council for Ukraine host payment delays

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Families who took in Ukrainian refugees are facing a long wait to get the cash they were promised when they signed up to be hosts.

Anna Wyatt welcomed a 19-year-old woman from the war-torn country into her Low Fulney home - but has been disappointed with the way the support system has been administered by South Holland District Council.

Their visitor should have received a £200 payment to help her settle into the country within 48 hours of arrival. However, it took seven days and several phone calls for the cash to arrive.

Families were encouraged to sign up to host Ukrainian refugees
Families were encouraged to sign up to host Ukrainian refugees

Host families are also supposed to get a thank you payment of £350 a month.

Anna’s guest, who has got a job here, arrived on May 20, so the cash was due on June 20 - but it didn’t get paid until July 21. The second instalment is now also a week late.

Anna has spoken to other hosts who have experienced similar problems, and says she has been passed around several councils and departments to get answers.

She said: “It’s just not good enough - there needs to be some accountability.”

The payments are a gesture of thanks - but in practice are often being used to help support people as they adjust to life in the UK, not least at a time when hosts are faced with rising bills themselves.

Anna said: “Some people are saying they are going to withhold their council tax. We are lucky, we have got one person. If we had a family of four or five we wouldn’t be able to sustain that.”

She is pleased she signed up to help - but just wants the council to improve its system, adding: “We felt if it was us and we were in that situation, we would want some help.

“It’s a really good plan, I just don’t think it’s been executed well in our area.”

She added: “It’s not good for the people coming over, they want to feel settled and comfortable but if hosts aren’t financially settled enough the impact is huge. It’s very, very poor and it’s a shame.”

A district council spokesman said that in some cases details are having to be checked with hosts - but Anna says this does not apply to her.

The spokesman added: “South Holland District Council is extremely grateful to anyone who is helping the people of Ukraine, as we do all we can to ensure support is provided to those that need it at this time.”

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