British families offering to take in Ukrainian refugees are being forced to pay hundreds of pounds to put them up in hotels in neighboring countries because of home office delays.

One family from Devon has already paid out £1,000 in hotel bills for a destitute Ukrainian family who fled the bombed city of Kharkiv and would otherwise be living on the streets of Warsaw in Poland without their generosity.

Another couple from Hull said they would pay rather than see a lone female refugee suffer any more by being forced to live on the streets in Poland after leaving their partner in the defeated city of Sumy to fight the Russians.

The families blamed Home Office delays for the plight of the refugees, whom they linked up with two weeks ago under the Government’s Homes For Ukraine scheme, but who are still waiting in Poland and other neighboring countries for their visa applications to be processed and granted.

All said they had been left in the dark on the progress of their applications, which they submitted two Fridays ago, the day the scheme officially opened. They even said they had been charged premium phone line rates when they rang up the Home Office’s visa office to seek updates.

Lauren Corbishley, an NHS mental health nurse, and her husband Ian, a teacher, have spent so far £1,000 on hotel bills for Yuliia Meshchierriakova, an accountant, her partner, Glib, an IT expert, and daughter, Maryna, 17, who fled Kharkiv at the outbreak of war.