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What are the arguments for and against the state taking on responsibility for social welfare?

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  • Essay length: 1947 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Social Work

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What are the arguments for and against the state taking on responsibility for social welfare?

The different arguments for and against the state taking on responsibility for social welfare have been powerfully put across by people of opposing political persuasions in Britain over the last 60 years. In this essay, therefore, I intend to use Britain's welfare state to exemplify arguments for and against the state taking primary responsibility for social welfare.

The welfare state in Britain was introduced in 1945 by the newly elected Labour government. Although this was the first comprehensive attempt at creating a functional welfare state it is important to note that it was not an entirely new policy. In fact, we can trace back to 1601 to find an early attempt at implementing a state welfare provision - the Poor Law. The theory behind this legislation was that the poor were to be categorized into the deserving ("the impotent poor") and the undeserving ("the persistent idlers"). There were many obvious flaws in the methodology and logic in the implementation of the Poor Law but it must be recognised that this was an early attempt at providing a social welfare system. This demonstrates

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