Banbury man calls for equal Ukraine help to be given to other migrants and needy local people-

A Banbury man has called on the council to give other migrants and needy local people the same help being offered to Ukrainians settling in the area.
A Banbury man has asked for financial equality between Ukrainian refugees and other migrants and needy local peopleA Banbury man has asked for financial equality between Ukrainian refugees and other migrants and needy local people
A Banbury man has asked for financial equality between Ukrainian refugees and other migrants and needy local people

Jeff Wallace said he believes bus passes being funded for Ukrainians should also be given to other migrants placed in the area and to disadvantaged people such as the unemployed.

Mr Wallace wrote to Cherwell District Council to ask why government money was not being spent equally on disadvantaged people.

He said: "Working people are struggling to pay bills and feed their families and you are giving our money away and expect everyone else to pay more.

“Why are the Ukrainians considered a special case? What about all the other migrants that have been dumped in the region; why do they not qualify for a free bus pass? Heaven forbid the prospect of providing a free bus pass for disadvantaged British folk.

"How about concentrating on spending council tax money on the people who actually contribute? Your virtue signalling makes me sick.”

In a reply, Nicola Riley, Assistant Director for Wellbeing and Housing Services, said: “The government provides a defined scheme for each refugee group; some are more detailed and prescriptive than others.

"In the case of Ukrainians coming to live in Oxfordshire there has been a certain freedom for councils to work together and determine how they could be best supported.

"Access to public transport is seen as a way of enabling refugees to take up offers of employment and to access English language classes. Both of which will allow them to integrate and contribute to the communities they are living in.

"Having parity with other schemes is important and while I understand you frustration that other refugees don’t benefit in the same way we are working to ensure that they too can access support and services they need to.

"The generosity of Oxfordshire residents opening their homes to Ukrainians as they flee war has been extraordinary and is hugely appreciated by the refugees.”

A Cherwell spokesman said the money for bus passes for Ukrainian refugees is funded from the £10,500 provided by central government for each person who comes to the county under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Mr Wallace said: “A £10,800 fund for people who have never contributed a penny seems extremely generous. Just think how disadvantaged British people might benefit from such funding.

“I don't wish to appear mean but many people are struggling as a consequence of the cost of the lockdown crisis and the Government seems happy to throw money around to everyone and expect the taxpayer to cough up more and more of their money.

“Why not give free bus passes to unemployed British people and help them get back in to work. I am sick of (the council) spending money on everyone except those that pay and contribute council tax.”Benefits and translation help are available to all those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine from the day they reach the UK. These include Universal Credit, housing benefit, pension credit, personal independence payment, child disability living allowance, attendance allowance and carer’s allowance. Details are available here.