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Labour’s Welfare Reforms

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Presentation on theme: "Labour’s Welfare Reforms"— Presentation transcript:

1 Labour’s Welfare Reforms
Success and Failures of Reforms Did it meet the needs of the British people?

2 Period The Government kept a tight control on consumer spending and maintained rationing Coal, electricity, gas, airways, the bank of England and the railways were nationalised Free of serious unemployment problems However the government’s determination to keep Britain strong meant welfare was not the only call upon resources

3 Social Security National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act, July 1946 was inherited from the coalition government provided benefits for all workers affected in the course of their work. Accidents no longer a private matter 4d was paid by workers, employers and state Tribunals were set up so that workers could get a fair hearing Payments for people permanently out of a job were more expensive than for unemployed

4 Social Security National Insurance Act, August, 1946 based on 1944 white paper Insurance for all purposes from ‘cradle to the grave 26 shillings for a single adult and 42 for a couple Sickness: only claim after 165 contributions National Assistance Act, 1948 was designed to help those not covered by other benefits schemes. Means tested, in theory Act was to be used little, but rises in cost of living compared to benefit meant numbers increased

5 Criticisms Government calculated benefit levels in 1946 to be fixed for the next 5 years However by 1948 when scheme came into operation prices of goods had increased significantly thus reducing purchasing power of the benefits Only 19% of average industrial wage Many more people than anticipated e.g. elderly had to apply for Nat assistance, 66% by late 1950s Although many were reluctant to apply for this due to means test and stigma attached Marked improvement but still long way from solving poverty and deprivation

6 Health-National Health Act, 1948 unified health care treatment, free at point of usage. The Act was delayed for 2 years Opposition to the bill came from the doctors concerned: State direction Loss of paying patients Comprie- pay beds and doctors could charge for consultancies

7 Health-expected initial demand would be high due to suppressed demand
Estimated to cost £140m in 1948, it cost £208m. By 1950 estimated cost had risen to £358m Critics claimed it was wasteful and pandered to minor ailments. Others argued that not enough was being spent NHS was a major achievement unequalled in Europe

8 The NHS: Campaigns of vaccination and prevention reduced scourges such as TB, polio and pneumonia Overall provision of hospitals, health centres, doctors,nurses and their medical knowledge increased Abolished most distinctions between rich and poor patients Increased the availability of health care; in ,000 patients saw specialists who would not have done so before 1939

9 Between 1946 and 1950 infant mortality rates fell 50% and childhood scourges like rickets and malnutrition were almost eliminated Criticisms: enormous expense and heavy burden on finances charges introduced for some services in 1951 Inundated with a backlog of untreated problems Plans for new hospitals and health centres shelved Despite this arguably ‘the greatest single achievement in the story of the Welfare state’

10 Housing: more difficult due to WW2 bomb damage and slums in big cities
Improvements: Housing Acts of 1946 and 1948 helped to build 800,00 houses Pre-fabs helped temporarily New towns were to be built Problems: Responsibility fell to Bevan Chronic shortages families had to take residence in army camps Lack of builders and materials

11 Housing: Assessment Housebuilding did not compare well with pre-war levels of Cons in 1950s Homelessness serious problem However given scale of problems historians have judged Labour more favourable than the voters in 1951

12 Education Education Act inherited from coalition government in 1947 put into operation Age at which children could leave was raised to 15 at a time when there was a shortage of workers Concentrated on shortage and poor condition of schools due to baby boom and war damage few technical schools built Led to dual system of secondary and grammar schools children to be allocated as a result of ’11 plus’ exam

13 Education:turned out to be socially divisive, why did Labour allow this?
Assessment:compared to provision being carried out in social security and health, Labour did little for the educational welfare of the working class It was not until 1964 that the idea of comprehensive schools for all abilities and social backgrounds became a reality

14 Employment: committed to ‘maintenance of a high and stable level of unemployment’ after the war
Beveridge had given a figure of 3% but 1946 the figure was 2.5% Not certain whether full employment was labour policy or postwar boom Postwar economy not without problems eg rationing, fuel shortages, inflation Therefore credit due to Labour for maintaining full employment

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