Lambeth council has expressed its readiness to aid refugees from Ukraine and urged the government to get its act together on the crisis.
In a letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, council leader Claire Holland and Sonia Winifred, cabinet member for equalities and culture, say clarity and details on the community sponsorship scheme need to be “ramped up” as the situation deteriorates.
The UK’s immigration system which hit the Windrush Generation and their children so hard, is now seeing refugees from Ukraine rejected when they reach Calais.
The letter says the UK immigration rules should be relaxed to allow for a humanitarian route and safe passage for refugees fleeing Ukraine.
“Limiting the support of the United Kingdom solely to those with family ties is wrong and does not meet our stated aims of being a welcoming country that stands alongside the people of Ukraine,” it says.
“Lambeth council stands ready to assist with efforts to welcome Ukrainian refugees.
“As a council we have come forward and worked with the government previously in the effort to shelter and house those fleeing Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, and other areas afflicted by war and persecution.
“We stand ready to do so again with our local partners and communities to play our part in providing a haven for those forced to flee their homes.
“Now is the time to lead and act with a firm, clear and humanitarian commitment to provide a safe route to any Ukrainian fleeing to the United Kingdom.”
The London civil society charity London Plus has a comprehensive list of organisations offering support to refugees from Ukraine.