Downing Street has confirmed on Tuesday that are considering to house Ukrainian refugees in Chelsea FC hotel and mansions which are owned by Russian oligarchs who have been sanctioned.
The government are looking into how they can do this and new legislation would be needed.
Asked about the mansions, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said, “Certainly that’s something we are looking at.
“I think in the first instance the two [visa] routes that we have are how we expect people will be housed in the UK, either through family or through this sponsorship route.”
He told Times Radio, “I, for some time, with others, have been complaining about those Russian oligarchs close to Putin, using our city to launder money by buying homes or businesses.
“And what’s doubly heart-breaking about the homes they buy is they’re left empty for years. They’re not homes, they’re gold bricks used to launder money.
“I think the government should be seizing them, and before selling them — because they’ll take some time — they should be using them to house those Ukrainians who are fleeing Ukraine, who we’ll be offering a safe haven in London.
“It’s a form of poetic justice, but also it’s a good use of these many, many empty properties sitting across London simply with dust being gathered inside rather than them being used to house people who need homes.”
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid said mansions which are sanctioned by the British government should not be the “first place” considered.
He said, “I think there’ll be some legal hurdles to try and do that, but it’s right that [Michael Gove] looks broadly to see how we can house more and more Ukrainian refugees.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson 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 has been created in relation to the sanctions.”
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