A SCOTTISH Government minister has applied to host refugees through the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Ash Regan, minister for community safety, revealed on social media that she will open her home to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

It comes as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would be “willing” to take in a refugee “if needed” and The Times reports that Scottish Labour deputy Jackie Baillie is also set to apply to the scheme.

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Almost 89,000 people across the UK have registered an interest in opening up their homes to a Ukrainian refugee.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said the latest figure was 88,712 on Tuesday morning.

And Regan, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Eastern, has encouraged others to sign up if they have the space.

On Tuesday morning she tweeted: “The war in Ukraine is heartbreaking and I’ve been wanting to take some sort of personal action to support those in crisis.

The National:

Regan revealed on social media that she had applied to the scheme

“So today I’ve made an application through #HomesForUkraine offering to host a refugee in my home. I look forward to welcoming them in their time of need.”

It comes as the Scottish Government said the First Minister would take in a refugee “if needed”.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “If needed, the First Minister would be willing to play her part in offering refuge.

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“Ministers are still pressing the UK Government to go further and faster on accepting refugees from Ukraine - but do not yet have the details from them on how a scheme will work, and what scope there may need to be for asking individuals and families to provide shelter.”

The UK Government launched the sponsorship scheme – Homes for Ukraine – to allow people and organisations to give displaced Ukrainians a place to stay on Monday afternoon.

Those offering a place to stay will receive a tax-free monthly payment of £350 which will not affect benefit entitlements or council tax status.

The National:

The FM, right, during a visit to the Ukraine club in Edinburgh

At the weekend, Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford announced Scotland and Wales were willing to become “super sponsors” for refugees, to which Communities Secretary Michael Gove said “we are doing everything we can in order to facilitate that”.

But in response to the scheme, the Scottish government’s Minister for Refugees from Ukraine Neil Gray renewed calls for the UK Government to waive all visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals, “and put people, not processes, first”.

He said there was concern that the sponsorship scheme would be slow and cumbersome and lack proper support and safeguarding.

“By acting as ‘super sponsor’ rather than waiting for the UK government’s matching process, we can provide safety and sanctuary to people immediately and welcome significant numbers of refugees from Ukraine to Scotland,” he said.

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Gray said this would include providing temporary accommodation and wraparound support while longer-term arrangements are put in place.

He added: “Whilst noting that the Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove has said that the UK Government will do everything it can to facilitate our offer, we await the UK Government’s detailed response to our proposals.

“We are keen to support people now, so will be pressing the UK Government for detail that did not emerge today.”