Britain will pay residents to open their homes to Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, as the government moves to quell anger over its handling of Europe’s fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War Two.
The government said on Sunday that the new programme, known as Homes for Ukraine, would allow refugees fleeing war to come to Britain even if they have no relatives there.
Britain will pay 350 pounds ($456) a month to anyone who can provide a room or property that exceeds their needs for the refugees for at least six months.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tried to portray Britain as helping to lead the global response to the Russian invasion, which Moscow calls a “special operation”, but his government has faced criticism for delays in accepting of refugees.
Lawmakers from all the main political parties have attacked the government’s insistence that Ukrainians obtain visas and biological tests before coming to Britain, saying it prioritizes bureaucracy over the interests of fleeing war.
The government said that under the new program, citizens, charities, businesses and community groups should be able to provide housing through a website by the end of the week.
Britain’s Housing Secretary Michael Gove said in a statement: “The UK stands with Ukraine in its darkest hour and the British people understand the need to get as many people to safety as quickly as possible.”