West Northamptonshire Council among most welcoming to Ukraine visa-holders in UK following Boris Johnson's visit to Kyiv

Ranking 29th out of 333 local authorities, WNC is doing better than most

By Max Pearson
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 10:45 am

New data has revealed that West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is providing some of the most homes for Ukrainians with visas out of more than 288 local authorities following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to Kyiv.

The ranking comes from the Ukraine Family Scheme and Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) visa data, which has reportedly received more than 79,800 Ukrainian visa applications nationally as of April 8.

Having issued 69 visas since Russia began its illegal invasion of Ukraine on February 24, WNC is currently 29th out of 333 local authorities, achieving a place in the top 8.7 percent of visas issued in the entire UK.

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The two leaders reportedly held 'in-depth discussions' about 'military and economic assistance' as Russian forces retool their attacks

Councillor Jonathan Nunn, leader of WNC said of the ranking: "I’m pleased that the Prime Minister travelled to Kyiv on Saturday to demonstrate the UK’s steadfast solidarity with Ukraine, which we know reflects how people across West Northamptonshire feel about the current situation, and that he held in-depth discussions with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on military and economic assistance.

"I was glad to understand that during the Prime Minister’s visit he confirmed further economic support, alongside the £394m the UK has provided in grant aid, to help ensure the continued running of vital humanitarian services for Ukrainians.

"I’m very proud to learn that our area is ranked 29th out of 333, which illustrates that, typical of the residents of West Northamptonshire, they want to do the right thing and support those fleeing this dreadful crisis.”

It comes as more scrutiny is directed towards the Government’s comparatively slow response, which has been accused of having too much “red tape” by critics.

While local opposition accepted the “complex” process, they have expressed frustration for those applying to sponsor refugees, yet hearing little back from the decision-makers in London.

Councillor Emma Roberts, leader of West Northamptonshire’s Labour Group, said: “I attended a meeting on April 5 with Council officers, community partners and other leaders. The application process is rather complex and was one of the key things that people felt strongly about.

"It is crucial however that safeguards for all were in place. A key message was that people wanted to offer their support and everything should be done to make it possible for them to do so.

“I am pleased that the PM visited Ukraine and represented the country, he must now back it up with action, increasing aid to the Ukrainian people and imposing harsher sanctions."

Councillor Danielle Stone, for Castle Ward, added: "It is pleasing our Prime Minister followed the example of European Leaders, and went to Kiev to talk with Mr Zelenskyy. Solidarity and practical support is our obligation in these hard times.

“West Northamptonshire is receiving few Ukrainians at present. If they are processing efficiently that can only be good.

“The UK government has shown itself to be overly bureaucratic and inefficient when dealing with urgent humanitarian issues.

“It is not what is needed. If local authorities can be nimble so too should the Government.”