Social Policy Beveridge

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After World War Two British citizens where faced with great social problems as there was ill heath due to malnourishment, physical and mental disabilities any health care had to be paid for privately or received through charities and organisations. Houses had been destroyed and where not rebuilt, there were very few jobs available as manufacturing had slowed down due to difficulties in exporting and jobs the war created where lost. The upper classes had better opportunities in obtaining services making the social class divide more prominent. Winston Churchill recognised the how inadequate social protection was and the need for improvement so he commissioned a William Henry Beveridge 1879-1963 to create a report focused on the reconstruction of post war Briton. Beveridge produced Social Insurance and Allied Services in 1942’ this report contained keynesian policy’s stating that the government should intervene and provide a standard of living for all in a form of Social Insurance and universal benefits that would not be means tested.

Although this report was not implemented straightaway by conservative, when labour was elected in 1945 the report formed the basis of the new prime ministers, Clement Attlee government’s legislative programme, for social reform.

Within the report Bevedridges aim was to tackle the 5 evils of society, Want, Disease, Squalor, ignorance and idleness which he felt were Britain’s major social problems. Want (poverty) was the main reason for Beveridge’s investigation the ‘National Insurance Act 1946’ entitled people to sickness benefits, unemployment benefit and retirement benefit meaning people would be able to meet their basic needs. The ‘Family allowances Act 1945’ was also introduced and this entitled an allowance to children under the age of sixteen. Disease (ill health) was a dominant issue as many citizens greatly suffered due to the lack and affordability of professional health services ‘The National Health Service Act’ was implemented in 1946 and insured that health care was free to all social classes and available in all areas. Squalor (poor housing) many houses had been destroyed and poorly maintained due to the bombings and cost of up keep, within the ‘New Towns Act 1946’ the Government was given power to designate any area of land that they considered development should take place, in order to improve living and working conditions. (www.historylearningsite.co.uk 2010) During this period of time ‘The Education Act 1944’ Targeted Beveridge evil Ignorance (Lack of education) education was limited and expensive this act allowed all children to obtain free education from the age of five, the importance of education was beginning to be understood as a benefit for the economy as a whole. Idleness (unemployment) Beveridge saw full employment as the pivot of the social welfare programme, (class handout) this was a contrast to previous classic economic idea that the government should ‘let well alone.

The reports publication caused a stir with people wondering what the outcome would be, it also gave those at home and those in the armed forces a sense of what kind of ideal new society and way of life they had fought for. In 1944 the Education Act was brought forward by a Rab butler the Minister of Education this act was an attempt to create the structure for the post-war British education system, the basic aim was to give every child an equal chance to develop his/ her talents and abilities to the fullest in a free education system. By giving children a free education between the ages off five to fifteen meant that every child could engage and achieve a higher academic level and contribute by being more employable, selective entry to secondary schools was now determined by a pupil’s academic ability and not by parental financial means. (www.earlhamsociologypages.co.uk 14.4.10) By providing free education it opened up secondary schooling to girls and different social classes were given equal...
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