THE UK Government has slashed funding for Ukrainian refugees in a move branded “compassionless”.

Tory minister Felicity Buchan has confirmed the Government has nearly halved the per-person payments to councils to help support Ukrainians who have taken refuge in Britain.

The UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has slashed payments to local authorities from £10,500 per person to £5900 per person.

In a letter to Holyrood’s external affairs committee, Buchan explained the move, saying the previous payment level was higher to cover the scheme’s start-up costs and that the reduction reflected the fact “a proportion of guests have returned to Ukraine during their first year”.

READ MORE: The uncertain future of Ukrainian refugees in Scotland

But the SNP branded the decision “reckless” and accused the UK Government of trying to “wash its hands of its moral duty to refugees”.

Rona Mackay, the SNP MSP for Bearsden said: “This compassionless Tory Government has slashed support from Ukrainian refugees when they need it with this reckless decision to cut council support.

“While the Tory Government is all too ready to wash its hands of its moral duty to refugees and asylum seekers, this SNP Government is doing all it can to ensure that people seeking sanctuary in Scotland receive the warmest welcome possible – and know that in Scotland, they will always have a home.

“Scotland has gone well beyond the initial commitment to welcome 3000 people – more than 24,400 Ukrainians have arrived here, the majority through the Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme."

Mackay said this represents one-fifth of all UK arrivals, "proportionately higher" than any other nation in the UK. 

“Within this broken Westminster system, Scotland will always be limited in its powers to support refugees, but with independence, we can build a fairer nation that always offers a safe space to those who need it," she added. 

In her letter, Buchan wrote: “Owing to wider pressures on the public finances, the Government made the tough decision to reduce the local authority tariff to £5900 per person.

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“In determining the reduction, we accounted for the fact that many of the start-up costs for local authorities administering the scheme will have already been incurred and that we now know that a proportion of guests have returned to Ukraine during their first year.

“Additionally, some Ukrainian guests are moving into their own accommodation and out of sponsorship during the first year, which should reduce the costs incurred by local authorities.

“Our funding decisions will ensure that we are able to protect this important route to safety for Ukrainian people into its second year, in a sustainable way.”