AT LEAST four bishops have sponsored refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, it was revealed this week.
A parliamentary question to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Andrew Selous MP (above), established that, while no formal list was held, the Church Commissioners were “aware of four bishops who have successfully sponsored refugees”.
Mr Selous, who is the Conservative MP for South West Bedfordshire, said that there were “several others still waiting either to be matched or for their application to be completed”.
The Bishop of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich, the Rt Revd Martin Seeley, is one of those who is still waiting, despite having signed up to offer his home in March (News 18 March). In April, he spoke to BBC News about his “frustration” at the delay in issuing visas.
“I am just struck that, at a point of catastrophic crisis, we still insist on a whole number of hoops to jump through when other countries in Europe have seen fit to set those aside,” he said.
The written question was from Justin Madders MP, the Shadow Minister for the Future of Work, who asked “whether any properties owned by the Church of England are being used under the Homes for Ukraine scheme”.
The Second Commissioner is appointed from the governing party in the House of Commons to answer parliamentary questions about Church of England affairs. Mr Selous has held the position since January 2020 (News, 13 January 2020).