Will Ukrainian refugees be allowed to stay in the mansions of the oligarchs?

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has suggested that Ukrainian refugees are staying in the housing of sanctioned Russian oligarchs.

The foreign minister for leveling, housing and communities said he wanted to “explore an option” that would allow the government to use the residences of super-rich Russians for “humanitarian purposes”, such as such as housing for Ukrainian refugees run away from war.

But Gove’s plan was reportedly “blocked” by officials at the Treasury and State Departments, who believed it was “legally unfeasible,” said The Independent.

Talk to BBC Sunday morning “I wanted to explore an option that would allow us to use the homes and assets of sanctioned individuals – as long as they are sanctioned – for humanitarian and other purposes,” said Gove.

But he admits there is “a pretty high bar of legislation that needs to be crossed and we’re not talking about permanent forfeiture”.

“We are saying: ‘You are being punished, you are supporting Putin, this house is here, you have no right to use or profit from it’ – and more, while you are not using or profit from it if we can use it to help others, let’s do it,” he added.

The proposals come after the announcement from No 10 that house sitters for people fleeing the war in Ukraine would be paid £350 a month under the New Home for Ukraine scheme. It is hoped that “tens of thousands of people will be accommodated under this scheme”, Mail on Sundayhelp solve “Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II”.

An anonymous supporter of Gove’s plan told the newspaper it was being opposed by “advocates of oligarchs hiding behind the rule of law”. But one protester denounced the proposals as “a political gesture more appropriate for a banana republic”.

As suggested by Gove, “at least 70 properties worth an estimated £500 million” from owners Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich Alone, who was sanctioned by the government last week, could be used to house Ukrainian refugees, including “a 15-bedroom mansion, worth £150m, at Kensington Palace Gardens, near the Russian embassy, ​​and a three-story penthouse in the Chelsea Waterfront tower, purchased for £30 million in 2018”, said. Time.

Government so far impose sanctions The Independent reports that “20 oligarchs have connections to Putin – as well as 386 members of Russia’s parliament”.

The Refugee Council, a charity that works with refugees and asylum seekers, said that Gove’s proposal would only work as part of a “robust, sustainable and well-built plan”. well built”.

Tamsin Baxter, executive director of foreign affairs, told The Times: “With housing shortages across the country, all options should be considered. It is far better for those recovering from the trauma of war to have a home of their own where they can feel safe and secure – especially if they cannot return to their homeland for months or even years. even many years.

“But it is important that this is part of a strong, sustainable and well-constructed plan to provide appropriate support to ensure refugees can rebuild their lives in the long run. . That includes access to housing benefits, appropriate investments in health care and schooling. “ Will Ukrainian refugees be allowed to stay in the mansions of the oligarchs?

Fry Electronics Team

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