THE UK Government minister responsible for overseeing the Ukrainian refugee resettlement has warned that SNP ministers insisting Scotland has a super sponsor scheme has left those fleeing war "stuck in hotels".

Nicola Sturgeon’s Government appealed to UK ministers to become a super sponsor of the Ukraine sponsorship scheme.

The set-up means that the Scottish Government essentially brings in refugees from Ukraine before finding a home to place them - but this has led to some being accommodated in hotels and temporary accommodation in the interim.

Reports have also suggested that some refugees, who hold a full visa and therefore unrestricted travel, have been transported between local authorities.

Speaking exclusively to The Herald on Sunday, Lord Harrington, who Boris Johnson appointed his dedicated minister to oversee the resettlement, said around 10,000 of roughly 70,000 Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK have been placed in Scotland.

According to the latest figures, 8,8183 visas have been issued by the Home Office under the Scottish Government’ super sponsor scheme – with only 2,236 households having arrived. Out of 3,348 visas issued for refugees sponsored by Scots individuals, 2,035 households have arrived.

Lord Harrington insisted that the Scottish Government’s super sponsor scheme “has advantages and disadvantages”.

He said: “The advantages are they’re able to bring people over and then decide when they’re here, where they go.

“The disadvantages are they have to be stuck in hotels. We hear Edinburgh is full so we move them to Glasgow and things like that.”

Council officials in the capital, who are dealing with a housing crisis due to a lack of available accommodation, have warned that the vast majority, believed to be up to 90 per cent as of last month, of Ukrainian refugees entering Scotland are doing so through the city.

Officials have revealed that around 40 refugees are entering through the welcome hub in the city each day, warning it is “increasingly becoming the entry point for Scotland”.

Council officers have also warned that “we continue to source accommodation for people staying locally” but added that “housing options are under severe pressure”.

They added: “We are working closely with neighbouring local authorities and the Scottish Government on additional options.”

Last week, Glasgow City Council said that more than 250 Ukrainian refugees were still living in hotels in the city while only 11 had been placed into council-run accommodation.

Lord Harrington said that he had “avoided temporary accommodation in England”.

He said: “It’s much better that people know where they are going.

“The Scottish Government wanted to do it and we encouraged it. They take responsibility for it and they organise it very well. Sometimes it takes longer to do the checks than other times.”

Asked if he was concerned about people being accommodated in hotels, Lord Harrington said: “If it’s for very short-term, if it’s for two or three nights, I think that’s absolutely fine.

“If the temporary accommodation becomes a kind of home, that’s not acceptable.”

But reports suggest the average stay in temporary accommodation has been more than two weeks, with some kept in temporary accommodation for more than a month.

The Scottish Refugee Council has also raised concerns about the scheme.

Gary Christie, head of policy, communications and communities for the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The Homes for Ukraine scheme isn’t, in itself, an adequate response to this crisis.

“Local authorities, support agencies and individuals are working really hard to make the best of the scheme, but there are other models we believe would have been more appropriate, such as dropping visa requirements and providing immediate temporary protection status for people affected.

“Homes For Ukrainians shifts responsibility from the state onto private citizens and in doing so introduces risks that could be avoided, including the risk of delays in finding accommodation.”

Cosla, the umbrella group for Scottish councils, is facilitating refugees into local authorities under the super sponsor scheme through a “national matching service”.

The First Minister has warned over a lack of funding for Scottish councils to help them facilitate the arrivals through the super sponsor scheme – despite £10,500 being put forward for each refugee.

She said that “there have been acknowledgements from UK Government ministers—principally Michael Gove—that those are serious issues”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “The £10,500 per person tariff does not provide adequate funding for local authorities and public services.

“That tariff is not even provided to local authorities for people who arrive through the family visa route, and I do not think that that is acceptable.

"Our local authorities and public services are supporting people, regardless of their visa route. There is a clear need to provide appropriate funding that reflects the unique impact of the implementation of the various UK Government schemes on public services and local communities.

“The matter is reserved, of course, but we take our responsibility seriously, and the Scottish Government wants to do as much as it can. The Scottish Government has therefore committed £11.2 million to local authorities to support resettlement and integration and the refurbishment of properties.”

Cosla’s declined to comment when approached by the Herald on Sunday.

The Scottish Government had initially pressed for Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK without visas to speed up the process – before receiving the green light to become a super sponsor.

Lord Harrington said: “The main criticism from the Scottish Government has been about the time it’s taken to get visas and I agree with that.

“I’ve told Neil Gray and I've told Nicola Sturgeon, I was not happy with that. Since I took over, we’ve put a lot of effort into a system now that’s not that.

“Visas were taking three or four weeks – and this is a war situation. Some argued that we should have no visas at all.”

He stressed that security checks are “making sure the sponsors in fact didn’t have criminal records or on watch lists”.

Lord Harrington said that the Prime Minister's instructions, when he took on the job was to “make the entry system as light-touch as possible”.

He added: “There was some talk that we were trying to use the visa system to try and stop people coming in.

“He made it clear to me that the system was uncapped.”

Asked about financial support for refugees arriving in Scotland, Lord Harrington said the majority have been able to find work.

He added: “As far as Universal Credit is concerned, they have to wait a few weeks to get it the same as anybody else.

“They are given £200 to keep them going, which it could be argued that’s not enough or anything. But they are given money for that – which is the same as any UK resident.

“They’ve essentially got the same rights – they've got the right to work, to benefits, to health, to education – they've got a three-years visas, which gives them the full rights to everything.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is doing all it can to work within the UK Government’s sponsorship scheme to provide a fast and safe alternative to Ukrainians seeking sanctuary in Scotland and providing support when they do get permission to travel from the UK Government.

“Our super sponsor scheme ensures displaced people can seek sanctuary in Scotland without delay and that all those arriving are given a ‘warm Scots welcome’, with access to temporary hotel accommodation, trauma support and translation.

“Our national matching service, delivered by Cosla, is working with all 32 local authorities is working hard to place people into longer-term accommodation which – under the Super Sponsor Scheme we will only match people where disclosure and property checks show it is safe to do so.

“Multi-agency teams are working hard to ensure that there is temporary accommodation available in cities where people may arrive late at night and to reduce the length of stay in hotel accommodation. However, we are looking at ways to reduce this need as we fully appreciate the impact this may have on people. Our absolute priority is ensuring the wellbeing and safety of those displaced from Ukraine arriving in Scotland.”