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How Successful Were The Labour Government Reforms Of 1945 51 In Improving Social And Economic Conditions?

878 words - 4 pages

How successful were the Labour Government reforms of 1945-51 in improving social and economic conditions?

From 1945 to 1951, Clement Attlee was prime minister of the Labour Government. He aimed to improve the Social and Economic Conditions. The main aims to improve the social conditions were: to create a fairer society and improve the lives of ordinary people, build on the recommendations of the Beveridge Report, and slay the five giants (Want, Disease, Squalor, Ignorance, and Idleness). The main aims to improve the economic conditions were: fulfilling the Nationalisation programme and reducing unemployment. Labour had to recover from being identified with the failures of the 1930s.
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Disease is another giant that was slayed. The National Health Service (NHS) became effective on July 5, 1948. Citizens could receive medical, optical, and dental services for free. It was established by Aneurin Bevan (Minister of Health and Housing). The NHS covered everyone after 1945. Before 1945, healthcare was not free. Setting up the NHS was not easy because Bevan had opposition. His opposition was Conservatives and people who had vested interests in the medical profession. Bevan needed support from the British Medical Association (BMA), but the BMA was against doctors being salaried state employees because they believed that it could weaken their professional status. Bevan had to compromise; he said that consultants were allowed to have private patients and work in the NHS. Doctors would get some of their salary from the state and the rest would come from a fee for each patient treated. The NHS did improve health; the number of infant mortalities and patients with tuberculosis and other diseases had decreased.
Housing was quite successful in a way (Squalor was another giant); many houses were built. 1.5 million Council houses were built and quarter of a million pre-fabricated houses were built. Although, with the amount of houses being destroyed by bombs, not enough houses were built. It was successful because many people were able to move into one of these homes.
Ignorance and Idleness were two of the five giants; ignorance was based around education and idleness was based around employment. Both of these ‘giants’ were part of the economic conditions. Economic policies also included rationing, loans from the USA, and economic planning. They may have...

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