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Reorganization of Refugee Aid Under Way in England

Drastic reorganization of the entire refugee aid set-up in Great Britain, leading to establishment of a central refugee coordinating body under the chairmanship of Sir Herbert Emerson, League High Commissioner for Refugees and director of the Intergovernmental Refugee Committee, is under way. The move was dictated by the acute financial situation of the refugee organizations and the need to meet the grave problems posed by the war.

The new body will include all Jewish and non-Jewish organizations engaged in refugee work within Britain, excluding activities conducted in other countries, which will be administered as hitherto. Except for the Czech Refugee Trust Fund, which has at its disposal the unexpended balance of the British loan to Czechoslovakia, the relief agencies here are in the most difficult financial position owing to the grave shrinkage of income and increased demands for the support of refugees now in Britain.

In addition to the usual demands, refugee organizations are now obliged to cope with the problem of aiding 10,000 to 15,000 refugees who had permits as domestic servants or temporary labor permits and who have lost their jobs because of the war. Another problem is the large number of refugees temporarily admitted to England pending re-emigration but who are unable to leave because of the war. And still another is the hundreds of other refugees admitted under private guarantees of support which the guarantors are unable to maintain.

At the same time, the war has made it more difficult for the organizations to raise funds.

According to the plans now under negotiation, the new coordinating body will have wide powers to reorganize the refugee work and will seek to establish the necessary financial basis, which presumably will take the form of a joint drive.

It is understood that the Government authorities have been closely watching developments, chief aim of which is to prevent the addition of refugees to the public assistance doles. With the example before them of Belgium, which is substantially aiding in maintenance of refugees, the refugee relief leaders hope that some form of Government aid will be forthcoming here also.

The coordinating body is expected to reorganize the structure of the various agencies, giving greater authority to provincial bodies, particularly in Manchester Glasgow and Leeds, where the larger part of the work is done. Various departments concerned with immigration are being liquidated because of the suspension of immigration, while more intensive efforts to organize remigration channels are expected.

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