People in Britain have been signing up in their thousands to offer a place in their homes to those seeking refuge from the war. It’s a spirit of generosity that puts it at odds with recent government policy, says Amelia Gentleman
When Russia’s tanks rolled into Ukraine three weeks ago, millions of residents grabbed what they could and headed for the border. Many sought refuge in neighbouring countries – Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary – but many with connections to the UK wanted to make the longer journey to seek asylum in Britain. It was not easy.
An overly bureaucratic application process combined with a lack of UK staff processing claims meant that by this week smaller countries such as Ireland were taking in far more Ukrainian refugees than Britain. With pressure building on the government, Michael Gove announced a new scheme in which private citizens could offer their spare rooms to Ukrainian refugees. Tens of thousands of people registered their interest online.