Welsh Conservative leader has concerns over ‘preparedness’ in welcoming refugees from Ukraine
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has written to the First Minister with “concerns over preparedness” in welcoming refugees from Ukraine.
Andrew RT Davies MS for South Wales Central has warned Mark Drakeford that if Wales does not “adequately prepare” for the arrival of those fleeing from the war in Ukraine, then the refugees and the people of Wales will be ‘let down’.
In the letter Mr Davies said: “Whilst I am supportive of the work you have been undertaking to ensure Wales steps up and plays its full role in welcoming refugees, I remain concerned that there have not been sufficient preparations to ensure we have adequate resources in place to absorb the increased demand our public services will face.
“We owe it to these people to provide them with sufficient healthcare, housing and education. I would like to request an update on what additional resources you have secured and allocated to meet this increased demand.
“I would also like to request an update on what number of refugees you believe Wales can accept currently.
“If we do not adequately prepare to properly support our new friends, we will not only be letting them down, but the people of Wales as well.”
If we do not adequately prepare to support our new friends from 🇺🇦 it is not just them we will be letting down, but the people of Wales as well
I've written to the First Minister today asking what he is doing to make sure we can properly support refugees from Ukraine👇 pic.twitter.com/Y6Nkr0jaTD
— Andrew RT Davies (@AndrewRTDavies) March 11, 2022
In a letter to the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, First ministers Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon have said that Wales and Scotland were willing to become “super sponsors” for Ukrainian refugees.
They stated that they were concerned at plans to match refugees with individual sponsors before being allowed into the UK would make the process “slow and cumbersome”, which is why they are proposing that the two governments “act as initial ‘super sponsors’ to allow large numbers to come to our respective nations quickly.”
In the letter to Mr Gove, both first ministers said it was “neither reasonable nor morally acceptable to expect people fleeing war to go through complex bureaucratic processes in order to reach safety within the UK”.
In the first wave, the first ministers said Scotland would expect to take in 3000 and Wales 1000. Under the plans more would be welcomed in later waves.
Nation of sanctuary
Mr Drakeford told BBC Wales’ Politics Wales programme it was “really impossible at this stage” to say exactly how many refugees could come to Wales, but that he wants Wales to be a “nation of sanctuary.”
He said: “We know that most people fleeing the awful scenes in Ukraine will want to stay as close as they can to the homes that they have fled from.”
At the Welsh Labour conference in Llandudno, Mr Drakeford confirmed that the Welsh Government is consulting with councils regarding how much help they could give and that discussions are also being held with the private accommodation sector and universities about what housing could be provided.
He said: “Very rapidly, a great deal of practical work is going on. So that we have the best picture we can have of what the potential sources of accommodation could be, and then to be able to offer the best match between the needs of people who will come to Wales and our ability to meet those needs.”
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