Counties see the largest number of sponsored Ukrainian refugees settle, a new report released on the anniversary of the Homes for Ukraine programme reveals

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2023 | 14 March 2023

Rural and county areas have seen the largest number of sponsored Ukrainians resettle in England, new data released on the 12-month anniversary of the Homes for Ukraine programme reveals.

England’s counties have seen almost 48,000 Ukrainian refugees arrive in their areas as part of the government’s sponsorship programme since March last year, which is 56% of the country’s entire total.

A year to the day when Homes for Ukraine was launched, council leaders have paid tribute to the ‘phenomenal’ efforts of the thousands of county residents who have opened up their homes to host refugees.

To mark the anniversary, CCN’s new County Spotlight publication showcases how our councils have welcomed and helped thousands of refugees integrate in rural and county areas. Download the document here.

But councils are concerned that cuts to funding for Ukrainian refugees, with local authorities receiving almost half of what they did last year, could impact on their ability to support and integrate guests.  In December the government announced per-head funding for  councils would reduce from £10,500 to £5,900, with county local authorities are at the sharp end of this, having seen the most refugees resettle in their areas.

The data, compiled by the County Councils Network (CCN), also shows what regions have accommodated the most Ukrainian refugees, twelve months into the programme:

  • The South East has seen almost sponsored 20,000 arrivals – the most in England. It is followed by London, which has hosted almost 17,000 refugees, and the South West, which has seen just over 11,000 new arrivals. The East of England has also accommodated over 10,000 Ukrainian refugees.
  • Within these regions, counties make up the bulk of where these refugees have been sponsored to resettle. In the South East, 83% of new arrivals have resettled in counties in that region, with 69% of Ukrainians in the South West being hosted or living in counties. The number is even higher in the East of England, where counties in that region accommodated 90% of refugee arrivals from Ukraine.
  • All bar one of the top 25 council areas that have accommodated the most Ukrainian refugees are all county local authorities. Kent has seen the largest amount of arrivals with 3,249 so far, with Surrey seeing 3,196 Ukrainians arrive. Hampshire (2,929), Oxfordshire (2,139) and Hertfordshire (2,027) round off the top five.

The data is featured in a new County Spotlight report from CCN, which showcases how its councils have helped to support hosts, including offering them substantial ‘thank you’ payments. The publication also highlights how they have helped Ukrainians integrate  in their areas, including offering free public transport, language courses, and playschemes for young children.

It also highlights how councils have tried to incentivise people to stay hosts for longer than the initial six month period households are required to commit to, or to encourage more people coming forward, by topping up the government’s thank you payments above the £500 maximum per month.

But despite these efforts, alongside prominent ‘rematching’ schemes and programmes to purchase private property, councils remain concerned over the rise in refugees presenting as homeless – with the numbers increasing by 40% at the end of January compared to November last year.

The government announced a £150m fund to combat Ukrainian homelessness in December, but further details are yet to emerge.

Cllr Barry Lewis, Vice-Chair of the County Councils Network, said

“It has been twelve months since the Homes for Ukraine programme launched, and we as a country can be proud of our achievements in taking in close to 90,000 refugees since last March. The response from households has been phenomenal, particularly in England’s county and rural areas where the majority of new arrivals have settled.

“Much of the focus of the Homes for Ukraine programme has rightly been on the public’s enthusiasm for the scheme. But alongside the generosity of residents, local government has been the vital cog in enabling refugees to come to England, with many having to adapt their services overnight to account for the huge demand and safety checks required.

“The twelve-month mark for the programme allows us to reflect on its challenges, too. We are sadly seeing a large rise in Ukrainian refugees presenting as homeless despite the best efforts of councils to incentivise hosts and rematch guests. But we are concerned too many are falling through the cracks, which is why the County Councils Network is joining the Local Government Association’s call for urgent solutions, including access to the government’s bespoke £150m homelessness fund as soon as possible.

“We are also concerned that the core funding for refugees has been reduced this year. This could impact on the effectiveness of councils in integrating these guests and supporting them as they rebuild their lives, with county areas arguably most affected as they have hosted more Ukrainians. We are calling on the government to keep this funding under review.”


Notes to editor

  • The data in this press release is taken from this government dataset here and relates to the data on the number of arrivals in the UK by sponsor location, broken down by council type and by region.

Sponsor location by council type

Council type Number of arrivals by sponsor location Percentage of England’s total
County and rural councils (CCN councils) 47,898 56%
Councils in London 16,757 20%
Unitary councils outside of CCN 12,321 14%
Councils in cities and large towns in North East and West Midlands (Metropolitan Boroughs) 8,861 10%
England 85,837



Sponsor location by region

Region Number of sponsored arrivals from Ukraine % of arrivals in county and rural areas within those regions
South East 19,998 83%
London 16,757
South West 11,060 69%
East of England 10,184 90%
North West 7,067 39%
East Midlands 6,546 75%
West Midlands 6,318 67%
Yorkshire and the Humber 5,476 30%
North East 2,431 43%
England 85,837 56%