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"The Creator Of The Welfare State." How Well Deserved Is This Description Of The Labour Government of 1945-51?

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Introduction

"The Creator Of The Welfare State." How Well Deserved Is This Description Of The Labour Government of 1945-51? A Welfare State is a system in which the government undertakes responsibility for the well being of its population, through unemployment insurance, old age pensions and other social security measures. In order to achieve this the Labour Government of 1945-51 introduced a number of reforms, including the National Insurance Act of 1946 and the Education Act. They also managed to achieve full employment, a target never met before in Britain. However, they are not the only reason for the arrival of the Welfare State. The Liberal Government of 1906-14 also deserves some credit, as well as the coalition government formed during World War Two, changing social attitudes in Britain, the Beveridge Report and Wartime Socialism. All of these provided some movement towards a Welfare State and as such compete against the Labour Government for the title of "Creator of the Welfare State." In order to discuss the effectiveness of the Labour Government's legislation for creating a Welfare State Sir William Beveridge's definition of the "Five Giants" can be used. These are the five main problems which he felt had to be dealt with in order to create a Welfare State. ...read more.

Middle

Although it was inherited from the coalition government, it was the Labour Party who put it in to effect. They also increased the education of children by rebuilding schools which had been bombed by the Germans during the War. This was to incredible effect, however, there were problems in that very few Grammar and Technical schools were built, resulting in 75% of children having to go to inferior schools. "Squalor" was partially dealt with through the building of one million houses for the people who lived in slums or had been bombed. It was not the five million which Labour had promised, but it was a start and a major achievement. It also helped to deal with "Idleness" as it provided jobs for the unemployed. This helped the Labour Party to reduce the number of unemployed and achieve full employment (2.5% unemployed.) This was the first time it was ever achieved in Britain and so was a brilliant target to have met. Although Labour completed the establishment of a Welfare State, it was the Liberals of 1906-14 who started off the movement. They were known as "the founding fathers of the Welfare State." ...read more.

Conclusion

This provided benefits for three quarters of a million old people in need. Wartime Socialism helped in the creation of a Welfare State as it changed people's attitudes a lot. Where as before the war people had an attitude of "Laissez-Faire," afterwards people had changed more to a Socialist point of view. This was due to rationing during the war and the fact that everybody was bombed as much as everybody else, whatever their class was. As a result nearly everyone was more accepting to the ideas of sharing and looking after each other. Overall, it is apparent that the Labour Government of 1945-51 does deserve the description of "Creators of the Welfare State." Although the Liberals of 1906-14 did start off the movement and made a number of changes to the Britain of their time, it was still far from being complete by the end of their term in parliament. They also left some of the "Five Giants" completely untouched and so were not as effective as the Labour Parliament. The other contributing factors, such as Wartime Socialism, although major factors, cannot claim the title alone, as individually they did not create as large an effect as the Labour Party. It alone greatly affected and managed to complete the Welfare State. ...read more.

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