How successful was the Labours Welfare State of 1945?

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How successful was the Labours Welfare State of 1945?

When thinking about the year of 1945 in Britain, there is a widespread view of the year being significant and a pivotal point in History. The first thing that springs to mind is the year being the end of 6 years of total war. However in 1945 much more began to change. The country shocked itself by electing a landslide Labour government in 1945, after the war time coalition led by rival conservatives, leader Winston Churchill, a man that was seen to have brought the nation to victory. However after this time of great austerity, the people of Britain had clearly been influenced and inspired by The Beveridge Report, issued in 1942. Initially the Beveridge Report was to be used as propaganda during the war to keep morale high and to look forward to a future without war, and poverty. This in itself had caused change in the terms of aiding Labours victory in 1945, yet also was a significant catalyst for great, momentous reforms for the welfare of the country, much needed after the destruction of the WW2. From 1945 the Labour Government led by Clement Atlee, passed a series of measures that would look after the well-being and positively benefit the welfare of all British Citizens, “from the cradle to the grave” for decades.

The popularity of the Beveridge report was evident to intelligent Clement Atlee, with the report itself selling 750,000 copies in its first months of publishing across the nation and even the USA. This important document was used as the basis for the mass change implemented between 1945-1951. The reports main focus was to deal with 5 main factors that needed to be targets for change; these factors were called “The Five Giants”, Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance and Idleness.

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“Want” was the term for overarching poverty in order for Labour to tackle this several acts needed to be passed. In 1946 National Insurance Act was passed extending the Liberal Act of 1911 however including all adults, this was vital in creating a comprehensive system of social security. It was a universal safety net. The act provided financial protection in the event of unemployment and sickness - workers received 26 shillings a week or 42 shillings for married men. This was significant as it recognised that married men, needed to provide for them family, needed more provisions than a single ...

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