Payment delays from CBC over Ukrainian refugees

Comment by Independent CBC Councillor, Adam Zerny


While Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC)'s website proudly proclaims 'Central Bedfordshire stands with the people of Ukraine', the Council has not exactly been swift to stand with the local residents who have found homes for refugees.

Two months ago, after much public pressure, the government pledged money to support families hosting Ukrainian refugees in the UK.

The plan - if it could be called that - was to provide £350 per host family in financial support to cover expenses incurred in boarding refugees. In addition, each refugee was to be provided with a “£200 interim payment to help with subsistence costs. This will be provided by the local council.”

While it was made clear the emergency £200 (in the form of vouchers redeemable at the Post Office) was to be provided by local authorities, host families were left in the dark about who was to pay the £350 per month.

And then, as councillors, we began to hear from local families who had taken in refugees and were suffering financial hardship coping with an increasing cost of living combined with no sign of the payments from the Government or CBC.

They had rung CBC which told them to ring the Government which told them it was down to local authorities.

Only after Dr Hayley Whitaker and I put pressure on CBC did it begin to get things resolved.

CBC has now agreed it will, after all, make these payments to hosts.

However families in need may have to wait a little longer as CBC has admitted that it still doesn’t have the ‘necessary checks and data collection arrangements’ in place to make the payments. Even though we’re now fully 6 weeks on from when refugees started to arrive.

CBC still can’t say when the payments will be made. It has admitted it might not have the extra funding from the Government until June.

To give an idea of the scale, there are so far more than 70 refugees in Central Beds so a significant number of families are incurring expenses.

CBC has also acknowledged it will be receiving £10,500 from central government public money, for every refugee hosted in Central Beds.

And still, none of these support payments have yet been made to host families.

I have written to CBC to say it should make the payments to qualifying families judged to be in financial hardship, NOW, from its significant financial reserves, rather than waiting until June for Government funding,

If you have been affected directly by any of this, please contact CBC via or ring the Council on 0300 300 8856.

Government FAQs

CBC website:

Follow up comment by Independent Dunstable town councillor, John Gurney

Being involved in the organising of the "Support for Ukraine" benefit concert in Dunstable, 19th May, at the Grove Theatre, I have been in close contact with the Luton branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).  The AUGB has been  established here for more than 30 years, with branches all over the country.  

However, form my observations, there hasn't been any effort by CBC to form links with the AUGB.  Nor do CBC appear to have idea or programme of what help they will be providing and how.

You can't integrate foreign refugees simply by telling them to collect some vouchers from the Post Office.

Imagine this was you and your family, who had been forced to leave your home, and go to a country where you barely spoke the language, had no idea of the social culture, and were living with well meaning, yet total strangers.

There's no plan, and nothing has been thought through.  Why don't CBC ask the Luton branch of the AUGB for help, guidance and support in working out what to do with funding and how to distribute it?

Cllr John Gurney
Dunstable Town Council

Support for Ukraine

The Grove Theatre, Dunstable, 19th May, 7:30pm, Tickets £19.50

Acts appearing include: Martin Turner founder of Wishbone Ash; The Korgis “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime”; Eyes of Albion, a local rock group; Anna Kravchuk, a UK based Ukrainian soprano opera singer who has performed throughout Europe; and reformed just for this event, for the first time in 40 years, Dunstable Rock legends, Toad The Wet Sprocket.

This event is being organised by Sylvia Fountain, a regional Radio Presenter and Producer; John “Muzzy” Musto, a Dunstable musician and independent teacher of music; Iryna Silsarenko, the Secretary of the AUGB Luton branch; and Dunstable Town Councillor, John Gurney.
Look up 'Support for Ukraine ' full appearance list on Facebook.