In 1942, William Beveridge identified the ‘5 giants’ of British poverty that needed to be tackled which were want, disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness. After WW1,there was a desire to build a better Britain for all as people were more aware of poverty and accepting the government intervention in people’s lives, which led to reforms based on Beveridge’s report being passed by the new labour government to provide help from ‘the cradle to the grave’. The Labour reforms were partly successful in meeting the needs of the British people, 1945-51. They aimed to tackle the giants of Want, disease, squalor and ignorance.
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The Labour Reforms to tackle the giant of Want were fairly successful in meeting the needs of the British people. The 1946 national insurance act built on the 1911 act by creating a compulsory contributory scheme, where all workers paid money weekly to the government to provide them with a range of benefits when needed. It gave sickness and unemployment benefits, old age pensions,widows and orphan allowances and maternity and death grants.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people because it created an effective social security system by covering a range of situations that could result in no earnings, which reduced people’s chances of falling into poverty and provided coverage from ‘cradle to the grave’
However this was less successful because the benefits were restricted to those that had made 156 weekly contributes, which meant that many such as the unemployed and elderly were unavailable to receive help, so remained in poverty. The 1948 national assistance act provided benefits for those not covered by national insurance, where poor people could apply for financial help if they needed it from the governments.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people as it worked as a safety net for those that had been excluded from previous acts to keep them out of poverty. This was less successful in meeting the needs of the British people because many did not want to apply for it as this was means tested by the government which led to a stigma being attached to it.
The Labour Reforms to tackle the giant of Disease were very successful in meeting the news of the British people. IN 1948 the national health service (NHS) was set up to provide medical services for the british people with aims of being universal, free at point of use and to treat all medical problems.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people, as the NHS covered everyone for the first time so even the poorest in society could access healthcare, which improved the health of the British people overall. This was less successful as the service was more expensive than labour had anticipated, and it was faced apposition from doctors who threatened to boycott the scheme.
The NHS provided glasses, false teeth and maternity and child welfare services. This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people as many people argue that the NHS was the most successful of the labour reforms as it improved the health care of the nation and eradicate some of the most deadly diseases.
However, this was less successful as they were forced to introduce changes for prescriptions, false teeth and glasses, as the scheme was too expensive which went against one of their basic principles and so many again not able to afford treatments.
The Labour Reforms to tackle the giant of squalor were less successful in meeting the news of the British people. The labour government planned to build 200,000 new houses a year, most of which were to be affordable council houses for rent with central heating, gardens and indoor toilets. By 1951, there were 1 million new houses built, including 157,000 prefabricated houses.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people because it means people were able to live in better quality housing which greatly reduced the number of people living overcrowded city tenement slums.
However, this was less successful because the 1951 census showed that there was still a shortage of 750,000 houses which meant overcrowding continued, long waiting lists for housing and many people being unable to improve their living standards. The 1946 new towns act aimed to build new towns across Britain and by 1951, 12 new towns had been created with new homes and communities like east Kilbride, Livingstone and Cumbernauld.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people because it moved people out of overcrowded cities into modern communities in the countryside which improved not only their living standards. However, this was less successful because not as many towns were built as planned, there were only 12 planned in Scotland but only 4 built.
The Labour Reforms to tackle the giant of ignorance was slightly successful in meeting the news of the British people.The 1944 education act was introduced which raised the school leaving age to 15 and meant all local authorities had to provide secondary and further education. Milk, meals and medical services were also provided.
This is successful in meeting the needs of the British people as it meant more children were getting a better education so they could get a better, higher paying job which would reduce chances of falling into poverty in the future. It also introduced the 11+ exam, also known as the ‘qually’ which placed children in either a junior or senior secondary school based on how well they did.
This was successful in meeting the needs of the British people as the number of working class children attending grammar schools increased hugely which gave the opportunity to gain more qualifications and go onto university, allowing them a better chance in the future.
However this was less successful as it was seen as unfair to base a child’s future on an exam that they sat at such a young age and it was also criticised as being socially devise, creating a two tier system where the poorest often still received inferior education.
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