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How successful was the Labour Government (1945-51) in dealing with Beveridge's "five giants on the road to social progress"?

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How successful was the Labour Government (1945-51) in dealing with Beveridge's "five giants on the road to social progress"? The 1942 Beveridge report was created by William Beveridge in order to help the Government outline the main problems in Britain. He was only meant to deal with the giant of want but he claimed that it was only one of the five giants being (want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness). It was this report which Labour committed themselves to during the 1945 general election. Their undoubtedly greatest success was creating the National Health Service (NHS). This meant that people who normally couldn't afford to go to see doctors could see a doctor when they needed them. This was created by Aneurin Bevan; a Welsh coal miner who had risen through the trade unions. This National Health Service helped to create jobs and social discontent. This was very hard to implement as Britain was on the verges of bankruptcy and hadn't got the loan they were hoping to from the Americans. He also desperately needed to get the doctors to join the scheme but they were at first reluctant due to worse pay and they also didn't want to work for the government. ...read more.


A major difference between this welfare state and the one which had passed before it was that the Labour one had no means test; the Labour welfare state was successful as people paid in they would get back when they were older and need it. There was also a national assistance act which dealt with people who didn't meet the criteria for the national insurance act i.e. they were beyond the working age so they couldn't pay in and therefore wouldn't get anything out. This scheme was means tested. There was also a national insurance of industrial injuries act. This helped people who had been injured at work and could claim compensation from the employer. They also brought in family allowance although this had already been designed by the coalition during the war. This gave families of 2 children or more benefits to help bring them up. This was successful as it gave a good sense of social security and helped the two main genres of people who suffer from poverty: the old and large families. ...read more.


This was a poor decision as it is hard to decide a child's academic ability at 11 and it especially didn't help the late developers. Also very few technology schools were ever made so most people went to secondary moderns anyway. They did make some good decisions however by raising the school leaving age to 15 but they were meant to up it to 16 as soon as possible but it took much longer for this to happen which is a major fault on their part. With the great economic problems and also the destruction after the war Labour did an absolutely astounding job in dealing with the problems that were left after the war. Also the Beveridge report represented an ideal world and to create that idyllic world would take much longer than 6 years and what Labour did in their 6 years gave either themselves or other governments after them a brilliant start from which they could finish the job off. Without the thoughts of economic problems and war damage it doesn't look like they did very well but with all factors considered they did a very good job and were very successful in creating the welfare state. ?? ?? ?? ?? Matthew Fisher 12B ...read more.

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