Why Did The Welfare State Happen?

2095 words - 9 pages

Why did the Welfare State happen in the 1940s?
This essay will discuss the beginning of the welfare state, the liberal reforms, the importance of the labour party, and Beveridges role within the welfare state and how it came to be.
The welfare state was established by 1945-51. The Labour government is generally recognized as representing a crucial development in welfare provision. An enquiry was established in 1941 to propose how best to further develop the state welfare. William Beveridge a chairman of a committee of civil servants charged with inquiring into the whole field of social insurance. The beverage report of 1942 emerged from the work of this committee. It followed hard on the ...view middle of the document...

(Fraser, 1984: p. 222-223).
Churchill’s indiscretion on attacking Labour during the election campaign, when he warned that a socialist government would be forced to employ Gestapo- like methods to enforce their policies, helped to alienate voters, who had spent five years fighting the Nazis, and respected the Labour party’s role in that struggle. The votes of the armed forces were a significant factor in Labour’s victory. (Fraser, 1984; Murray, 2006).
Going back to the prior reforms in 1880s before the 1834 Act, there was no central authority, outdoor relief was widespread and used to subsidise wages, there was also workhouses which varied in the type of support they provided. The 1834 Act established commissions, and parishes were amalgamated into poor law unions which held new workhouses in each union. The commission laid down rigorous instructions about life in the work house. They became deterrent institutions. Outdoor relief was denied to able-bodied poor. In the period 1900-14 century there was a changing economic and political situation in Britain which meant that attitudes to poverty were likely to change. The poor were thought of as idle, drunk, and extravagant or that poverty was due to personal failure. Due to the findings of Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree they discovered it was more to do with unemployment and low wages. Following the writings of these men, governments were more willing to extend state involvement in social welfare for example the liberal social reforms of 1906-14. First they re-established the right to receive outdoor relief’ secondly, the reforms established the principal that relief be given without stigmatization of the workhouse system, thirdly the reforms represented an acceptance that national government had a responsibility for dealing with the causes of poverty. (Fraser, 1984; Murray, 2006).
There were fears that Britain was in decline as a world power which led to the idea that Britain had to improve its national efficiency, by improving the quality of the workforce. During The Boer War which happened in 1899 - 1902, the British army experienced difficulty in finding fit young men to recruit as soldiers. Many recruits were refused on medical grounds. It did confirm that the physical condition of the poorest parts of the population were a concern. (Murray, 2006).

There was a new need to which the government must respond, drawing particular attention to the unhealthy state of children they criticised parents for inadequate care. A conclusion was drawn that if parents could not provide the welfare for their children the state would have to undertake the responsibility. (Murray, 2006).

The election of the liberal government in 1905 saw the introduction of new social legislation. The liberal reforms were the origins of the welfare state. They established benefits outside the poor law, the government began to accept the action needed to be taken on unemployment, William beveridge was...

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