Statement from the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester Leaders on the situation in Ukraine

The whole of Greater Manchester stands in full solidarity with Ukraine and its people at this time. Our city-region has long been home to a vibrant and thriving Ukrainian community, and no measure of distance can dull the distressing shockwaves that are felt here with each passing day.

We have watched with horror as the situation has unfolded and heard the harrowing accounts that are coming out from people on the ground in Ukraine, as families are forced to flee their homes under constant attack. Our thoughts are with all those suffering the consequences of an appalling invasion – those who have left behind homes, livelihoods, and loved ones to escape constant bombardment, and those in towns and cities across the country remaining resolute in the face of unspeakable unprovoked aggression. The actions of the Russian Federation constitute a severe breach of international law and there must be an immediate and unconditional end to hostilities, while all those responsible must be brought to justice.

More than 2 million people have been forced to flee the country, and we are therefore joining the call on Government to take urgent action to provide quick, simple and safe routes for people to seek sanctuary in the UK. The Government must do more, and faster.

Greater Manchester stands ready and willing to offer support to Ukrainian families. We have always played our part in providing sanctuary to those in desperate need, and that will not change.

The Home Secretary has taken steps this week to provide further clarity on the Ukrainian Family Scheme, and how people can apply both in UK and from abroad. We, as the Greater Manchester Mayor and Leaders of the 10 Councils, now call on the Government to provide similar clarity on the Humanitarian Sponsorship Pathway, to ensure that urgent plans are put in place to support those people on arrival, and that restrictions on both routes do not risk further separation and distress during this crisis.

We are urgently seeking clarity on the financial support that will accompany these routes. It is vital that this support is joined up and properly resourced to best support families as they arrive, and any funding announcements must be brought forward without delay. We are proud of the welcome that our city region gave to Afghan families, but know that too many across the country remain in hotels. We urge that the Government supports all of our refugees and ensures that no family is left in limbo.

We also restate our call on the Immigration Minister to build a fairer, more effective immigration system that can be responsive to such international humanitarian events and does not unfairly penalise those seeking sanctuary based on the journeys they make. An urgent review of the Nationality and Borders Bill is required.

While we continue to hope for an immediate and peaceful resolution to this crisis, we know that the devastation already wrought on Ukraine will resonate for many years to come. Greater Manchester will always remain on the side of freedom and democracy, just as we remain ready to provide help and assistance to the people of Ukraine and our own Ukrainian community.


Article Published: 11/03/2022 19:00 PM