A Historical outline of the welfare state
Throughout the 18th and 19th century the state in Britain accepted that it was responsible in some way for people who were unable to provide for themselves. During the 20th century many aspects of social welfare passed from local governments to the control of central government.
In 1942 a very important report, The Beveridge Report, outlined what needed to be done in order to overcome the main social problems of the time.
The Labour Party won the General Election in 1945 and started to bring in social reforms to improve people’s life. These reforms are generally knows as the “Welfare State” , a system of social services organized and paid for by the government that are designed to protect British citizens “from the cradle to the grave “ Dalla culla alla tomba.
In 1946 the National Insurance Scheme was set up to give financial help to the poor and elderly.
From the 1950s to the present day
However, although the Welfare State improved many people’s lives,it also introduced new problems. Government administration grew very quickly in order to provide the new welfare services. Some people claimed that state welfare made people lazy and irresponsible about their own lives. When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 many nationalized industries and services were privatised. To save on public spending she also started a series of reforms for services in hospitals and school and reformed unemployment benefits, diminishing the extent of the Welfare State. The present Labour government has continued to reforme and modernize the Welfare system. They want people to play a more active role in resolving their social problems and to accept that they have responsibilities as well as rights. Reducing unemployment is a main objective and many initiatives have been introduced to encourage people with particular barriers, such as single parents or disabled people , to work.