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How Can a Careful Study of History Shed Light on the Problems That Polititions Have Encountered Since 1945, When Trying to To Shed Light on Their Visions for the Welfare Policy

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History Essay


In society today there of many problems that occur on a daily basis, we read about these problems in the press, the media and often identify social problems amongst our nearest and dearest. The problems that occur could be someone suffering from poverty, unemployment, illness, violence and pollution, amongst others. Private problems often escalate into social problems, as it may have an effect on the community around them, government are notified and from that social policy is born. Reforms are bought in to deal the social problems.

During the the 1930s, the recession that hit Britain left its people in high unemployment and destituition, at that time there was no safety net aginst poverty and many of the growing population were suffering from hunger, illness and poor housing. The pressure on the government introduce a new reform to combat these problems was high. ( With the country in the middle of the 2nd world war, future plans to build the country was put into place.

In 1941, William Beveridge, one of britains leading economists, was asked by Winston Churchill's goverment to investigate these problems, in response he produced a report,'Social insurance and Allied services'. This was a scheme that helped promote a spirit of post-war optimism (Gladstone, 1995)

The Beveridge Report of 1942 recommended that the government should find ways of fighting the five 'Giant Evils' of 'Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness' and proposed a system of National Insurance, based on three elements, family allowances, a national health service, and full employment. (Timmins 1996)

Sir William Beveridge was member of the Liberal Party and in 1944, was elected as a member of parliament. The Labour Party was very much associated with the report and its slogan "Freedom from Want" was particularly popular with the masses. After a unsurprising victory in the 1945 election, the Labour party came to govern with Clement Atlee at the helm.The following year the new Labour Government began the process of implementing Beveridge's proposals that provided the basis of the modern welfare state.

Clement Attlee introduced three key acts: the 1946 National Insurance Act, which applied the Beveridge scheme for social security; the National Health Service Act 1946; and the 1948 National Assistance Act, These Acts were timed to come into force on the same day, 7th June 1948. The 1948 Children Act was another important element. These acts covered sickness and unemployment benefits. Retirement pensions (men at 65 and women at 60), Maternity benefit, widows benefit and a death grant. There was no provision made for single mothers.

In Keynes' theory, one person's spending goes towards another's earnings, and when


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