National Assistance Board, Assistance Branch, 1948-1950
National Assistance Board, Assistance Divisions, 1950-1966
Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:
Department of Health and Social Security , from 1979
Series is accruing.
Administrative / biographical background:
The Polish Resettlement Act 1947 placed upon the Assistance Board the responsibility for meeting the needs, either by cash allowance or maintenance in camps or hostels, of certain series of Poles and their dependants who had come into this country since September 1939.
During the war of 1939-1945 welfare work for Poles had been undertaken by the London Polish Government which ceased on the recognition of the Warsaw Polish Government. The work was then temporarily administered by the Interim Treasury Committee for Polish Questions until the Resettlement Act came into force on 1 April 1947.
At the end of the war the British Government offered hospitality to Polish soldiers who had served under British command during the war and who were unable or unwilling to return to their native country. This offer extended also to the soldiers' dependants and Polish refugees who after the war gathered near the Polish service units stationed in Italy and Germany. Large numbers took advantage of the offer and between 1946 and 1948 some 130,000 Poles arrived in Britain, the majority of whom settled into employment fairly quickly.
The Polish Resettlement Act of 1947 enabled the Assistance Board to provide accommodation for those whose resettlement was going to take longer to achieve. The Assistance Board opened a number of hostels and in 1948 its successor, the National Assistance Board, was providing accommodation for more than 16,000. By 1966, when the National Assistance Board's responsibilities were transferred to the Supplementary Benefits Commission, there were only two directly administered establishments, with a total of 565 residents.
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