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How successful were the Labour governments in solving the problems highlighted in the Beveridge Report?
Joe Messengeron 12 April 2011
Transcript of How successful were the Labour governments in solving the problems highlighted in the Beveridge Report?
William Beveridge: "Social insurance fully developed may provide income security; it is an attack upon Want. But Want is one only of five giants on the road of reconstruction and in some ways the easiest to attack. The others are Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness" Want Poverty was seen as one of the main social problems of Britain and the Labour government did much to try and rid Britain of the problem. The National Insurance Act passed in 1946 went further than the 1911 act introduced by the Liberals It included sickness and unemployment benefit, and provided a pension and maternity benefit The Industrial Injuries Act was also passed in the same year. The act made insurance against industrial injury compulsory for all employees. Industrial injury benefits were to be paid at a higher rate than for normal sickness.
The 1948 National Assistance Act provided benefits for those not covered by the National Insurance Act.
This showed the Labour government were aiming to make sure no problem went un-addressed Disease Poor health conditions had been a major problem and contributer to poverty in Britain In 1946 the National Health Service Act was passed and came into effect on July 5 1948. It meant every British citizen could receive medical, dental and optical services free of charge for the first time ever. Treatment by GPs and in hospitals was free also. However, it was opposed by the British Medical Association at first Disagreements over funding for the NHS, finally settled with prescription charges into effect, led to the resignation of the man credited with forming the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, in April 1951 The creation of the NHS is seen as one of the Labour governments greatest achievements Squalor The state of British housing was still in a poor condition after the war, and the Blitz made things in the cities much worse The government aimed at building 200,000 houses a year and many of these were prefabricated houses which were assembled quickly onsite The New Towns Act passed in 1946 made prepations for the creation of 14 new towns in Britain Labour wanted to deliver the promise of Homes for Heroes not delivered by David Lloyd George after the First World War Ignorance Pre-WWII, Education was only guaranteed for the middle and upper classes, however Labour wanted to extend this to the working class as well The Education Act of 1944, actually proposed by the Conservatives, made secondary education compulsory for children under 15 Children would sit the 11+ examination which would place them in three different types of schools depending on their results Grammar schools Technical schools Secondary Modern schools Children who failed the 11+ usually went straight into work, helping reduce unemployment Idleness After the war unemployment was reduced to 2.5% despite the huge economic problems Britain faced post-WWII The government nationalised many industries such as Coal and Steel, and the Bank of England This ensured unemployment would not rise too highly However, exports fell by 60% showing the nationalisation of industry had mainly negative consequences Critics claim that the Labour reforms did not go far enough with many things, such as having benefits set too low which resulted in many citizens remaining below the subsistence level However, the Labour reforms set the foundations for and created the Welfare State, and were highly successful in solving the many problems highlighted in the Beveridge Report Labour cannot take all the credit however, as the war-time Coalition government also addressed some of the problems In 1943 they set up a ministry to supervise insurance and in 1945 family allowances wre agreed. They also built temporary homes funded by the state for some the homeless, and the Education Act of 1944 was passed in this government