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Emily Carver is Media Manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The British people have shown themselves to be full of compassion. In fewer than three weeks, tens of millions of pounds have been aided to projects in Ukraine, collection points have been inundated with donations and, just five hours after the new Homes for Ukraine refugee scheme went live, more than 89,000 people registered their interest in the programme – crashing the website as applications continued to flood in.

The Government has provided tremendous military and humanitarian support, including new plans to provide vital energy support to Ukrainian hospitals and charities. But as Ukrainians flee for their lives, the Home Office’s response has been characterised as slow, indecisive and, by some, simply heartless.

It has been noted many times that other European nations have offered refuge to hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians, while we have only issued around 4,000 visas under the Ukraine Family Scheme. These comparisons are to a large extent unreasonable, not least because of geography, plus the fact that many Ukrainians ­– including women and children who fear for the men in their lives – would prefer to stay close to their home country.

It is also the case that the EU already allows Ukrainian citizens to travel to any member state for up to 90 days without undergoing visa requirements. Speaking to a friend in Western Ukraine earlier this week, a young woman with a child and a husband yet to be mobilised due to his work, I was told that the plan is to cross over to Poland, if the violence escalates nearby.

Criticisms of the new scheme that will allow individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to volunteer accommodation are wide-ranging; from those who see it as a cynical attempt to limit numbers, to those who query why the Government has been shelling out millions of pounds of taxpayer money on hotel accommodation for those crossing the channel, while now relying on the goodwill of the British people to house those fleeing war in Europe.

The Scottish and Welsh first ministers have already announced their desire to become “super sponsors”, which may well signal more of a power grab than an intention to ameliorate a scheme that Nicola Sturgeon has disparaged as “beset with bureaucracy and red tape”.

Despite this, the programme could be a savvy move from the Government – and not just because it replaced Priti Patel as the messenger in favour of Michael Gove. The onus has been thrown on the individual and civil society to step up – and it appears that both may well be doing so, and in their droves.

It could be that the public response soon exceeds the number of people wishing to take up the offer to live in this country. Those who have called out the Government’s approach as cold-hearted, including the many very vocal celebrities, can now show their compassion by offering up their spare rooms. MPs will also squirm in their seats as they’re asked on national television whether they too will open their doors. And the British public will have proven they are far better than the state at getting things done. All they needed was the green light.

That’s not to say that the scheme will be plain sailing. Those who have already signed up will have to go through a DBS check to host children, for which there is a five to ten day delay in normal times. Local authorities may have to check premises, plus the people offering rooms may be unsuitable, or may not be suitably located.

Matching people with individuals will also take some time and there are very many possible pitfalls. Could the scheme be used as a cover for trafficking? What happens at the end of six months? And is there not a high probability that many of the housing ​arrangements simply won’t work out (even if for good faith reasons)? The public finances will also take another hit – at least in the short-term- for the £10,500 in extra funding issued to local authorities per refugee, and extra welfare payments needed.

There is of course no perfect scheme that shows compassion and pleases everyone, but we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. In many ways, this scheme, if executed well, could provide a pretty good balance, between a completely open-door policy that relies entirely on the state, and one that pulls up the drawbridge.

Furthermore, the scheme shows how the state, charity and private action can work together. As with the Kinder Transport, which rescued almost 10,000 children from Nazi Germany, this plan combines legal sanction by the government and private organisation through voluntary bodies. The issue of volunteers having to name refugees personally should be surmounted, with charity groups such as the Sanctuary Foundation, Refugees at Home and Shelter 4 Ukraine all beginning to make connections between individuals. In this way, the Government opens the door, but it is civil society and individuals that will help those fleeing war walk through it.

There is understandably pressure to liberalise policy further, but this must come with caution. Housing supply in this country has reached crisis point; over six million people are waiting for treatment in the NHS, while welfare payments and taxes are set to rise as the Government battles with the squeeze on the cost of living.

While free market reforms to liberalise planning and improve the NHS might go some way to easing these pressures, one cannot ignore the reality that there is little political will to do so. There will be little trouble, though, when it comes to finding jobs – with businesses already pledging to hire Ukrainians amidst significant labour shortages.

It is right that the opposition and public press the government to act quickly and reduce the burden of bureaucracy. But if successful, this scheme could be a model for what happens when government hands power back to the individual, households, and civil society – and that’s a refreshing change.