Stevenage welcomes refugees from Ukraine

Ukrainian flag

Stevenage Borough Council has passed a motion to welcome refugees from Ukraine to the town - Credit: FreeImages

An urgent motion to welcome Ukrainian refugees to Stevenage has been unanimously passed by councillors.

The motion put to Stevenage Borough Council proposed to ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson "that all efforts are made to welcome refugees coming from Ukraine to the UK, and advise of our willingness to help settle individuals and families whose lives have so sadly and suddenly been affected by the military action in Ukraine”.

It also said: "We express our solidarity and support to the Ukraine community in Stevenage and pledge assistance within our powers with their humanitarian aid efforts."

The council's leader, Sharon Taylor, moved the motion and said: "Stevenage stands in solidarity with Ukraine.

"Vladimir Putin is tearing up every principle of civilised behaviour between countries.

"This invasion of a free and sovereign country is not only a tragedy, it's also a terrible mistake. We all carry the love of our country in our hearts, in our minds and in our memories. It can't be destroyed by bombs and violence."

She pointed to Ukraine's "extraordinary resistance," and how the country's people are "incredibly courageous and utterly determined".

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She said: "The Russians will not succeed. Even to hold down part of the country, the constant and inevitable resistance will be exhausting and costly for the Russian occupiers."

Several councillors criticised the Government's slow progress in processing Ukrainians' applications for refuge in the UK.

"They are not economic migrants, they are refugees fleeing attack," Cllr Taylor said, but Cllr Phil Bibby warned: "We have to be very careful that we only let in bona fide applicants."

Cllr Robin Parker said the Government "needs to fully fund any housing needs", and refugees should be housed in the private rented sector, "so it has no detrimental effect on the council housing waiting list".

He said: "We don't want any backlash from people misunderstanding, thinking they are going to be pushed further down the housing list."

The councillors voted unanimously in favour of the motion.

For information about action you can take to support the people of Ukraine, visit stevenage.gov.uk/news-and-events/news/ukraine-crisis