Sajid Javid 'couldn't personally' host Ukrainian refugees and oligarch homes may not be practical

The UK is setting up a scheme where Britons can sponsor Ukrainian refugees to stay in their homes. Credit: AP/PA

The health secretary has said he couldn't personally find the time to house a Ukrainian refugee, as the government is urging people to do, and the homes of Russian oligarchs may not be practical accommodation for those fleeing Vladimir Putin's war.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove will set out in the Commons details of a government scheme which will allow members of the British public to sponsor Ukrainians to seek sanctuary in their homes for a minimum of six months.

People will receive £350 a month for opening their homes to refugees, a payment which is already being criticised as inadequate, especially since they will be given the same amount no matter how many Ukrainians they house.

Sajid Javid said he is still considering with his wife whether they could accommodate a refugee, but he "must be realistic".

"Any host has to be able to offer the time to the Ukrainian family that's necessary to help them to integrate to help make them welcome here - I'm not sure if I can personally do that."

Sajid Javid says it's unlikely that he could house a Ukrainian refugee:

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he would be able to host Ukrainians and intends on signing up to the scheme.

He tweeted: "We've spent the past few weeks as a family discussing the devastating situation in Ukraine, and so we intend to apply today to join other UK households in offering our home to provide refuge to Ukrainians until it is safe for them to return to their country."

An alternative being proposed by campaigners is the idea of using the homes of sanctioned oligarchs to house refugees, given many houses owned by wealthy Russians have been frozen as assets by the British government.

Mr Javid said he's "not sure if it's the most practical way to house Ukrainian families coming here" but Communities Secretary Gove is "considering all options".

Using the homes of oligarchs would have a "high legal bar", Mr Javid added, but "if that bar is met I am sure it is something he would want to utilise".

Downing Street did not rule out Chelsea Football Club's hotel being used to house Ukrainian refugees.

Chelsea FC's hotel could be used to house refugees after it was frozen as one of owner Roman Abramovich's assets. Credit: PA

The PM spokesman said: "We would certainly want to see wherever is possible (used), we are open to all options.

"There are some challenges around the special licence that his been created in relation to the sanctions."

But "by and large the vast majority of people" coming from Ukraine would be housed under the two routes already announced.

The health secretary said there are lots of other ways to help refugees if people are unable to offer their home.

He said if people could afford it, they could help by donating to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Ukraine.

Javid says the homes of oligarchs may not be practical to house refugees:

Local authorities will receive £10,000 for each Ukrainian refugee sponsored in their area, Mr Gove said on Sunday.

People who want to open their homes to Ukrainians must name those who they would like to house, and charities will help make matches.

Labour's Lisa Nandy welcomed the scheme but asked: "Are we really asking desperate Ukrainians and British sponsors to find each other online, dating app-style?"

The UK's other scheme for Ukrainian refugees is also being criticised, with the government under pressure to waive the visa application process, given complaints that the system is slow.

Who are the Brits trying to fight in Ukraine and could they do more harm than good?

Just 4,000 visas have been issued out of 17,100 applications submitted since the scheme opened on March 4.

This was the total number of visas granted so far as of 3pm on Sunday, according to the department, according to the Home Office.

Both schemes involve refugees passing biometric security checks but normal requirements for salary or language tests will be waived.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also said he'd be unable to house a refugee under the sponsor scheme.

"Personally we won't be able to because of space and other security issues," the mayor told ITV's Good Morning Britain, "but I admire the generosity of those Londoners, and we know our city is a very generous city".