Agenda item

Agenda item

The Lord Mayor's Special Business - Statement on the Ukraine Conflict

·                Manchester City Council’s accreditation as a ‘White Ribbon’ Authority.


The Lord Mayor invited the Leader of the Council to address the Council to provide an update on Manchester’s response to the war in Ukraine.


The Leader of the Council announced that Manchester stands in unity and solidarity with the people of Ukraine and will continue to do everything possible to support the humanitarian effort to help those affected by the Russian invasion.


Manchester continues to be ready to play its part, together with towns and cities across Europe, in welcoming evacuees escaping the conflict and the humanitarian disaster it is creating.  

The Leader of the Council outlined Manchester’s response to the conflict:

·         A Council Task and Finish Group has been established to co-ordinate the local response to administer, and support arrivals from Ukraine, under the Homes for Ukraine Scheme and enhanced Visa scheme.

·         The group is chaired by the Strategic Director of Neighbourhood and attended by senior officers from across the council and key workstreams have been developed to organise the response.

·         Strategic Directors have been asked to prioritise this work across their services and a number of senior officers are regularly meeting with government officials to scope the requirements.

·         The regional response is being considered and coordinated via GMCA and the NW Regional Strategic Migration Partnership.


Home Office Visas

·         The government has made provision for an increased volume of visas for Ukrainians with ties to the U.K.

·         Around 3,000 people have been issued one by the middle of March.


Homes for Ukraine

·         The Homes for Ukraine scheme allows British citizens and businesses to sponsor a named Ukrainian or family to stay in their accommodation in return for a £350 support payment per residential address.

·         Over 150,000 applications have been made under this scheme to date (29 March).

·         However, a relatively small number of Ukrainians have arrived on this scheme to date – 1,000 as of 29 March. 

·         Manchester has received (as at 29 March) notification of a growing number of sponsors in the city.

·         These are spread across the city, with a mixture across owner occupied, private rented and social housing accommodation.

·         The Council is unaware of the complete guidance around some of the processes involved, but Council Officers are working collaboratively with regional and national partners to ensure that these are well-rounded and appropriate.

·         Given that confirmed sponsors are beginning to cascade to the Council, verification as well as accommodation and safeguarding checks are due to begin imminently over the next few days.


·         To date, the numbers of Ukrainians coming to the UK from Ukraine have been limited and not on the scale seen from Afghanistan or previous crises, in terms of large numbers of refugees arriving.

·         The limited number that arriving have largely been individuals linked with the Friends and Family Visa Scheme, who have established links to the U.K. and require relatively little support. Many have been using Manchester Airport as a transit hub before travelling on to other locations in the North.

·         As the Homes for Ukraine scheme progresses, the numbers of arrivals into Manchester are expected to increase rapidly.

·         The levels of support required are likely to vary and will be determined by personal experiences ahead of and on leaving Ukraine, with the expectation that traumatic experiences will require trauma informed services where required. 

·         It is expected that arrivals will be predominantly women and children due the mandate on males to stay in Ukraine.

·         A response team for meet and greet have been mobilised for the last ten or so days at Manchester Airport. A request for volunteers has been shared throughout the entire City Council workforce and over 100 employees have decided to help.

·         Consideration is also being given to the need to provide support at Manchester Piccadilly train station and Chorlton Street bus station given their status as key transport hubs – it is understood that some Ukrainians have been arriving into the UK via ferry from Ireland into Holyhead and would likely arrive at Piccadilly.

We Love Mcr Umbrella Fund

·         On 24 March 2022, the We Love Mcr charity launched the Manchester Ukraine Welcome Fund.

·         The fund serves as a central fundraising page for Manchester that is officially supported by the Council with funds distributed to various community groups and charities across the city who are best placed to support Ukrainians.

·         Several communications have been published on various council-platforms such as Facebook, whilst the story has also been picked up by the Manchester Evening News amongst others.

·         The amount raised by the fund currently stands at £54,194, which includes a £50,000 initial donation by the Council.

·         An employee at the Council has agreed to walk from the Town Hall Extension to Buckingham Palace in support of the fund.

·         We are now working to identify appropriate partners to share the funding with and to put in place appropriate governance structures, whilst remaining as agile to the changing circumstances as possible.


A member raised the point that the time taken to deal with applications to allow access to the UK is taking too long and the government should do more to speed up the process. The families looking to travel to the UK were struggling financially in view of not being able to work and the high cost of temporary accommodation.