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  • Created on: 24-05-10 18:37



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- The welfare state as we know it began after the BEVERIDGE REPORT 1942.

- He identified '5 GIANT EVILS', Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness.

- His 'Social Plan' was implemented to help reduce:

- Poverty

- Disease

- Lack of education

- Poor Housing

- Long term unemployment

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Social Democratic Approach


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How these changes were implemented:

- Labour developed NATIONAL INSURANCE, this helped alleviate temporary poverty during times of sickness or unemployment and provide money after retirement. UNIVERSAL.

- Backed up by NATIONAL ASSISTANCE, for those who were unemplyoed or sick for a long period of time, MEANS TESTED, only meant to apply to tiny number of people.

- FAMILY ALLOWANCE for all families with more than 1 child, paid directly to mother (still the case today) meant to be in line with cost of raising a child, not the case.

- NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE or NHS, 1948, provided free health care to all.

- NHS designed not to alleviate poverty as such, but to improve standards of health.

- This emphasis on health was reinforced by provision of free school milk to all under 18's in 1946.

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- ROWNTREE AND LAVER 1951 found that (on a representative sample) compare with 17.7% living in poverty in 1936, only 1.6% lived below poverty line in 1951.

- However these figures were disputed by other research using the same figures, Townsend found that 5.4% of households were actually in poverty.

- ATKINSON and BOURUIGNON (1982) reanalysed the same data and found that 14.4% of working class house holds should have been judged as poor!

- Other crticisms include that National Insurance ignored differences in rent levels across the UK

- Also made women financially dependent on husbands, no incentive to work.

- Despite this, during the 1950's and 1960's it was generally assumed that the best way to alleviate poverty was through state organised provision.

- In the 1970's however governments focussed on the worst of in society, introducing disability benefits such as Mobility allowance and invalid care allowance in 1976.

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The New Right Approach: 1979-1997

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The 'Thatcher' Era 1979

- 1979 and the election of the conservative government saw the beggining of a rqdixcal change in policies towards welfare and the removal of poverty.

-The welfare state 'became part of the problem' and acted as a fuel to the fire or as Margrwr Thatcher called it, a 'nanny state'.

- by cutting spending in welfare, the government hoped that this would create a healthier economy and trigger a rise in living standards. this would then also help reduce the so-called 'dependency culture'. (people reliant on benefits).

-as a direct result 5 million people became unemployed.

(^^^^^^^^^^EPIC FAIL^^^^^^^^)

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A New Policy Direction

-This new direction created an increase in SELECTIVITY and MEANS TESTED BENEFITS.

- Meaning that free dental treatment, prescriptions ect went to those with the lowest income, usually the unemployed and over 65's (contrast to beveridges reforms).

-Loans also became availiable only to those who could pay them back, meaning those who need help most, did not get it. This was meant to make claimnets more responsible and manage their budgets more efficiently.

- Many benefits were NOT cut, but they did NOT increase in line with inflation, meaning they became less effective. In a sense, a BENEFIT FREEZE.

- Introduction of CHILD SUPPORT AGENCY. Aimed to make 'absent parents' pay child support rather than the state. This enforce the new right view of the responsibilities of the family which they claimed was lacking.

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Most Critics belive that:

-The new right polices did NOT reduce poverty and actually INCREASED it.

- JOHN HILLS (1996) showed during 1970-86, the income of poorest 20% of population fell by 6% wheres income of richest 20% rose by 26%

-the increase in means tested benefits led to more of a stigma being attached to being poor, whiched increased the POVERTY TRAP. (increase in income=loss of benefits, you are no better off)

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- There has been radical changes in provision of welfare in the UK in the last 30 years.

-The balance of our 'mixed economy' of welare in which state provision is mixed with both private and informal provision, has changed. placing more emphasis on privately funded provision.

-'Blurring of the boundaries' between provision of welfare by the different agencies. this is believed that the final service provided will be better as each agency complements eahother.

- There are both positives and negatives with this type of welfare provision.

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