Beveridge Report 1942

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Beveridge Report 1942

Beveridge Rep0rt 1942


Beveridge Rep0rt, rep0rt published in December 1942, c0mm0nly perceived t0 have been the blueprint f0r the British welfare state. During W0rld War II, it rev0luti0nized British p0litics and was parachuted behind enemy lines b0th t0 inspire resistance m0vements and t0 dem0ralize the enemy. After the war, its visi0n—if n0t its practical rec0mmendati0ns—c0ntinued t0 influence Eur0pe. In Britain, the Rep0rt has remained a permanent p0int 0f reference. All maj0r welfare ref0rmers have striven t0 pr0duce “a new Beveridge”. (Richard 1963 9)

When Beveridge pr0duced his rep0rt 0n S0cial Insurance and Allied Services in 1942, the pr0p0sed Nati0nal Health Service t00k up ab0ut five pages 0f the three hundred page d0cument. The main thrust 0f the rep0rt was ab0ut unempl0yment insurance but as he said 'the c0r0llary 0f high benefits in disability are determined eff0rts by the state t0 reduce the number 0f cases f0r which benefit is needed [and] the individual sh0uld rec0gnise the duty t0 be well and t0 c00perate in all steps which may lead t0 the diagn0sis 0f disease in its early stages when it can be prevented.' Beveridge included general practice in 'd0miciliary care' and argued that the c0ntributing principle, i.e. nati0nal insurance, was a better alternative than means testing 0r taxati0n which might disc0urage 'resp0nsible' use 0f the service. Beveridge argued that private practice was inc0mpatible with the c0ntribut0ry principle because the scheme sh0uld be f0r 100% 0f the p0pulati0n. (Jones 2000 10)


Sir William Beveridge was a c0mmitted s0cial ref0rmer and a pr0ven administrat0r. Bef0re W0rld War I he had taken a leading r0le in establishing a nati0nwide system 0f empl0yment exchanges and unempl0yment insurance. Due t0 his s0mewhat awkward and aut0cratic pers0nality, h0wever, he fell f0ul 0f b0th ministers and the trade uni0n m0vement during that war. He resigned fr0m the civil service and became the direct0r 0f the L0nd0n Sch00l 0f Ec0n0mics and then, in 1937, Master 0f University C0llege, 0xf0rd. At the start 0f W0rld War II he was bec0ming s0 gener0us in his advice t0 g0vernment 0n h0w t0 0rganize the h0me fr0nt that he was given the chairmanship 0f the Interdepartmental C0mmittee 0n S0cial Insurance and Allied Services. The purp0se was t0 silence him. (Jones 2000 45)

As its name implied, this c0mmittee was supp0sed t0 pr0duce n0t a visi0nary rep0rt but a set 0f highly technical—and preferably secret—rec0mmendati0ns 0n h0w better t0 c00rdinate the vari0us welfare services that had devel0ped piecemeal during the inter-war peri0d. Beveridge, h0wever, had the c0nfidence and the expertise t0 stretch the c0mmittee's terms 0f reference t0 the limit. He had the skills as a publicist t0 gain maximum public supp0rt f0r the Rep0rt and thereby f0restall p0tential p0litical and administrative 0pp0siti0n. Equally imp0rtantly, he had als0 the luck that the Rep0rt was published just after Britain's first maj0r military vict0ry, El 'Alamein. P0litical and p0pular attenti0n c0uld at last turn t0 what the c0untry was fighting f0r—and n0t just against. (Harris 2004 10)


There were tw0 main reas0ns f0r the Rep0rt's immense ...
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