Welfare Questions 1992-2003. Welfare questions = Liberal Reforms 1906-14 National Governments of 1930s Labour Reforms 1945-51. Will there always be a ‘welfare question’? Let’s examine the evidence: The Britain 1850-1979 syllabus is divided into four sections.
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Welfare Questions 1992-2003 • Welfare questions = • Liberal Reforms 1906-14 • National Governments of 1930s • Labour Reforms 1945-51
Will there always be a ‘welfare question’? Let’s examine the evidence: The Britain 1850-1979 syllabus is divided into four sections. 1. Democracy and the British People 2. Political and popular attempts to influence the development of democracy 3. Government and people: socio-economic problems in the period and the changing role of central government in addressing them 4. The changing identity of Scotland in the UK Each one of the four sections is assessed. Every year since 1992, there has been at least one question on section 3 i.e. a welfare-type question.
When? What topic? • Liberals + Nat. Govts. • Liberals • Labour • Liberals + Nat. Govts. + Labour • Liberals + Nat. Govts. • Labour • Liberals + Nat. Govts. • Labour • Liberals + Labour • Nat. Govts. + Labour • Liberals + Labour • Liberals + Nat. Govts.
So now to the big question: What welfare topic(s) will come up in 2004? Let’s examine the evidence. You can draw your own conclusions. In the twelve years 1992-2003: Liberals appeared 8 times Nat. Govts. appeared 6 times Labour appeared 7 times Evidence from the long term therefore suggests that the Liberals are the least likely to come up in 2004 and the Nat. Govts. are the most likely to come up. But do the exam setters based their decisions on long term or short term trends?
What about the shorter term evidence? In the last four years: Labour has appeared 3 times Liberals have appeared 3 times National Governments have appeared twice The National Governmentscame up last year – will they appear two years in a row?
Will Labour come up in 2004? Labour did not come up last year whereas the Liberals and the National Governments both appeared. There have never been two years when the Labour reforms did not come up. Therefore, Labour is likely to come up in 2004. If there are two questions, they are most likely to be the Labour and the National Government since the Liberals have appeared in the last two years. Warning……we might be wrong!
Questions on the Labour Reforms 1994-2003 1994 How true is it to say that the Labour government of 1945-1951 set up the Welfare State? 1995 Did the Liberal government of 1906-1914 or the Labour government of 1945-1951 do more to promote social welfare in Britain? 1997 How successful were the welfare reforms of the Labour Government of 1945-1951 in improving social conditions in Britain? 1999 "The social reforms of the Labour government of 1945-1951 were successful in establishing a welfare state." Do you agree?
2000 How successfully did the Labour Government promote social welfare in Britain between 1945 and 1951? 2001 How effective were the social reforms of the Labour Government of 1945-1951 in dealing with the problems facing Britain at the time? 2002 "The creator of the Welfare State." How well deserved is this description of the Labour government of 1945-1951?
What type of question is likely to come up? • There are three types of Labour question: • How effective were the Labour welfare reforms? • Did Labour create the welfare state? • Were the Liberals or Labour more effective in promoting welfare? • The following table shows when the three types of question appeared:
The Liberals versus Labour question has only appeared once and not since 1995. It is a very difficult question and is unlikely to come up again… but theoretically, it could! • The welfare question came up last in 2002. • Perhaps the most likely question therefore is the one on how effective were the Labour reforms in dealing with the social /welfare problems between 1945-51. • That is the question that we are going to study in depth in preparation for the 2004 exam.
The Labour Welfare Reforms Essay • Content • Structure • Debate • Historiography
How effective were the social reforms of the Labour Government of 1945-1951 in dealing with the problems facing Britain at the time? What is the question asking you to do? Outline the problems facing the British people after WW2 Give details of the social reforms carried out by Labour Evaluate the effectiveness of the Government’s reforms - How effective was each reform in dealing with the related problem? - Evaluate each reform in turn after describing the actions taken. Don’t describe all the reforms, then evaluate them all at the end. N.B. The content (‘social reforms’) includes the following areas:
1. Social Security • The Family Allowances Act (1945). Enacted by the Churchill ‘caretaker’ government, therefore outwith the remit of this essay) • The National Insurance Industrial Injuries Act (1946) • The National Insurance Act (1946) • The National Assistance Act (1948) • 2. Health • The National Health Service Act (1946) • 3. Education • The Education Act (1944). Although passed by the wartime Coalition government, the way Labour resourced and implemented the Act makes it worthy of discussion. • 4. Housing • 5. Employment
The social reform areas you need to discuss in this essay are: The Social Security laws passed by the Labour government were: • Social Security • Health • Housing • Health • Employment • The National Insurance Industrial Injuries Act (1946) • The National Insurance Act (1946) • The National Assistance Act (1948)
The methodical way to discuss each of the five social • reform areas is to outline and discuss in order: • What was e.g. the health problem in 1945 • What action did Labour take to deal with the heath problem • How effective were Labour in dealing with the health problem • criticism of the government actions • positive evaluation of the government actions • We will use this format throughout the essay. This • ensures there is a logical flow and structure and also • that there is guaranteed debate and evaluation.
Introduction • Social security Problems in 1945 • Government action on social security 1945-51 • Debate *Criticisms of social security measures *Positive evaluation of social security measures • Link sentence into next section (housing) Social Security • Housing Problems in 1945 • Government action on housing 1945-51 • Debate *Criticisms of housing measures *Positive evaluation of housing measures • Link sentence into next section (health) Housing • Health Problems in 1945 • Government action on health 1945-51 • Debate *Criticisms of health measures *Positive evaluation of health measures • Link sentence into next section (education) Health • Education Problems in 1945 • Government action on education 1945-51 • Debate *Criticisms of education measures *Positive evaluation of education measures • Link sentence into next section (employment) Education • Employment Problems in 1945 • Government action on employment 1945-51 • Debate *Criticisms of employment measures *Positive evaluation of employment measures Employment Conclusion
Writing an Essay in Forty Minutes • Very few Higher students will write more than 40 sentences in 40 minutes. • Therefore, you need to be clear about what the really important points are that you want to get across • As we have seen, there are going to be seven sections to this essay: • Introduction • Social Security • Health • Housing • Education • Employment • Conclusion
Introduction 3 sentences Social Security 7 sentences Health 7 sentences Housing 6 sentences Education 6 sentences Employment 6 sentences Conclusion 4 sentences • For each section in body of essay (approx.): • The problem 1 sentence • Government action 2 sentences • Criticisms 2 sentences • Positive evaluation 1 sentence
So, in your note-taking, you have to be selective. But make sure you cover all the areas i.e. for each reform, mention the problem, the action taken and evaluate the reform.
Problems facing Britain after WW2 (general) • Britain lost almost a quarter of its entire national wealth during WW2 as well as two-thirds of its export trade • Rationing remained much longer than expected - clothes, petrol and basic foodstuffs remained on the ration. • Sweets and chocolate were taken off the ration in April 1949 but too fast – supplies ran out and rationing had to be re-introduced in August. Bread had to be rationed in July 1946 due to a world shortage (ended in July 1948). • It was not until 1954 that food rationing was completely ended.
Shortages • There were many items not on the ration which were still in short supply e.g. children’s clothes, toys, prams and cots. • Whalemeat and snoek were introduced to the British diet because of a shortage of beef (normally imported from Argentina).
After the war, sale of new furniture was restricted to newly married couples. • Britain suffered fuel shortages during the winter of 1947. • Shortages were to prevail until the early 1950s. • Britain’s economy was battered by crises in the aftermath of the war - a 30% devaluation of the pound, inflation, and Balance of Payments problems.
1. Social Security • a. Problems • there was no social security ‘system’ – it was a ‘patchwork without an overall design’ (Addison) • the Liberal welfare measures had been expanded during the 1930s and again during the war but benefits were not available as of right and some people fell through the net e.g. wives of insured workers did not have equal access to medical treatment • the uninsured still had to undergo the humiliating ‘Means Test’
b. Government action • National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) Act July 1946 • Accidents at work were no longer to be a private matter between employer and employee, but the responsibility of society as a whole. • Universality and compulsion were built into the scheme i.e all workers and employers would have to contribute payments. • In return, the state would provide insurance against industrial injury. Benefits were set at a higher rate (45 shillings (£2.25) per week) than those for ordinary sickness. • For the first time, women would be paid the same rate of compensation as men.
National Insurance Act August 1946 • All adults had to belong to the national insurance scheme. • This would provide benefits to cover all eventualities from the 'cradle to the grave'. • The insured population would be entitled to: • Benefits were set at the rate of 26 shillings (£1.30) for a single adult and 42 shillings (£2.10) for a couple. • Sickness benefits could only be claimed after one hundred and fifty six contributions and unemployment benefit could only be given for a period of between one hundred and eighty and four hundred and ninety two days. • unemployment benefit • sickness benefit • maternity benefit • guardian's allowance • widow's benefit • retirement pension • death grant for funeral expenses.
National Assistance Act 1948 • The aim of the Act was to provide national assistance as a 'safety net' to meet the needs of those whose circumstances were not adequately catered for by the National Insurance scheme. • The Act set up a National Assistance Board (replacing the Unemployment Assistance Board of the 1930s) to carry out these duties.
c. Criticisms of the Social Security System • In theory, National Insurance was supposed to be comprehensive and the payments sufficient to meet the people's needs. National Assistance was therefore designed only to provide a residual, back-up role to National Insurance. • In practice, it did not work out like that. The government calculated and decided on benefit levels in 1946. These were to be fixed for the next five years, after which they would be reassessed. • However, by the time the scheme came into operation on the appointed Day' (5 July, 1948), prices of goods had increased significantly, thus reducing the purchasing power of the benefits.
c. Criticisms of the Social Security System • One historian has calculated that welfare benefits in 1948 were only 19% of the average industrial wage and therefore well below subsistence level. • Because of this, many more people than expected, particularly the elderly, were forced into applying for National Assistance. • In 1949, 48% of all National Assistance went to supplement retirement pensions. That figure had risen to 68% by the late 1950s. The problem here was that National Assistance was 'means tested' and many old people were reluctant to apply for it, fearing the stigma attached to the hated Means Test of the 1930s. • There was still a long way to go before the problems of poverty and deprivation were to be adequately addressed.
d. Positive assessment of social security • The state was now providing a 'safety net’ that protected people of all classes 'from the cradle to the grave'. • It was a marked improvement on the former provisions and did help to reduce poverty. When Rowntree investigated conditions in York in 1950, he found that primary poverty had gone down to 2% compared to 36% in 1936. • The real value of pensions was significantly increased; the elderly could now live reasonably comfortably compared to the 1930s. • The social security system was to ‘the real advantage, especially, of many women and also those of the lower middle class who had previously been excluded from most social insurance benefits.’ (Thane)
2. Health • a. The problem • only 21 million people (less than half the population) were covered by the existing health insurance system set up by the Liberals in 1911. • The rest of the population had to pay whenever they desire the services of a doctor • Many therefore tended to postpone consultation as long as possible because of the financial anxiety caused by having to pay doctor’s bills • The national health insurance scheme did not provide for the self -employed nor for the families of dependants • Hospitals still relied on flag days and other voluntary efforts to raise money to keep them in service.
b. Government action • passed the NHS Act in 1946 • NHS came into being in 1948
Positive evaluation of the NHS • provided a universal health service without any insurance qualifications of any sort. • It was available to the whole population • A full range of help would be given free of charge e.g. • general practitioner service • the specialist • the hospitals • eye treatment • spectacles • dental treatment • hearing facilities.
Positive evaluation of the NHS • The NHS was providing the same real services as other countries but mostly at a lower cost per patient. • Doctors, dentists and opticians were inundated with patients queuing up for treatment. This highlighted the backlog of untreated problems which the NHS faced.
In its first year of operation treated some 8.5 million dental patients… • …and dispensed more than 5 million pairs of spectacles.
Positive evaluation of the NHS • Prescriptions rose from 7 million per month before the NHS to 13.5 million per month in September 1948. • The NHS took on new functions: • The provision of hearing aids, false teeth and efficient glasses improved the quality of life of a major part of the population, especially the elderly. • mass screenings for tuberculosis • maternity and child welfare clinics on new housing developments • modernised the ambulance service, • provided by home helps and medical social workers.
Criticism The enormous expense of the NHS came as a shock. By 1950, the NHS was costing £358 million a year The Labour government was forced to backtrack on the principle of a free service by introducing charges for spectacles and dental treatment. Plans for new hospitals and health centres had to be shelved. New demands put pressure on the NHS e.g. more mothers were wanting their babies delivered in hospital as opposed to at home. New medical techniques also created new demands and pressures e.g. cardiac surgery was being applied to heart disease, and the first hip replacements were beginning to be performed.
Criticism • Right wing historians argue that: • the NHS was too generous in allowing everyone to get free dentures, spectacles and prescriptions. This was wasteful of scarce resources. People were getting things they did not need. • The NHS was available free to everybody from all over the world and this seemed to be overgenerous for a country so recently battered economically by world war. • critics claim that Labour should have concentrated at first on investing in Britain’s shattered industries rather than social welfare. • “The country needed new homes and hospitals, but these should only have been provided (as in Germany) after the re-creation of an efficient industrial base." (Correlli Barnett)
Criticism • Left wing historians on the other hand argue that: • The NHS did not eliminate private health care. Bevan allowed private patients, in 'pay beds', in NHS hospitals. • Charles Webster, the official historian of the NHS, is very critical. He argues that: • The NHS failed to improve the general medical service available to most people • The lower classes continued to experience a humiliating standard of care and higher level of taxes. • However, the middle classes (who could afford private health) benefited – they no longer had to pay doctors' fees and they got the services of better GPs in the more affluent areas where they lived.
3. Education a. The Problem • War and evacuation severely disrupted education – there was a great shortage of teachers as male teachers were needed in the armed forces. • Training of teacherswas disrupted during the war so in 1945, schools lacked fully qualified and trained teachers. • The most immediate problem in 1945 was the shortage and poor condition of school buildings. About 20% of existing school stock had been destroyed or damaged during the war. • A long standing problem was the inequality of provision in education – children from a poor background had very little chance to better themselves through education e.g. very few went to university.
b. Government action • The Labour government inherited the Education Act from the Coalition Government and had to put it into effect. • The Act provided for: • free secondary education for all • secondary schools to be divided into three different types (grammar, moderns, technical) • pupils to be allocated to a secondary on the basis of an IQ test (the 11 plus) • additional nursery and special education places were to be provided
b. Government action • Due to post-war constraints, Attlee was forced to concentrate on the replacement of schools bombed during the war and on the building of new primary schools to accommodate the children resulting from the 'baby boom' of 1942-7. • Labour raised the school-leaving age to 15 in 1947. • By 1950, 1,176 new schools had been built or were under construction, 928 of which were primaries.
c. Criticisms • As in health, the middle class seemed to do better out of the education reforms than the working class. • There was no equality of opportunity. • In theory, children were supposed to be allocated to the three types of school after an 'intelligence' test at 'eleven-plus'. This was supposed to be an objective and fair means of selecting pupils irrespective of their social class background. • In practice, it was a scramble by the middle class for the limited number of prestige places at the grammar schools.
c. Criticisms • Only 20% of places were available in grammar schools; a tiny 5% of places were available in technical schools and so the rest (75%) were classified as non - academic and allocated to the low status secondary modern schools. • Grammar schools were high status schools largely for middle class children. They had good resources, well-trained teachers, smaller classes and better exam results. They alone were geared up to getting their pupils prepared for university.
c. Criticisms • Pupils going to the secondary modern schools had little chance of going on to higher education. Their curriculum was dominated by non-academic subjects e.g. woodwork, metalwork and gardening for boys and cookery, needlework and secretarial work for girls. Pupils here had no chance of going on to higher education. • The public school system (private schools) flourished as never before. Many middle class parents whose children failed the Eleven Plus sent their children to independent schools. (Pearce) • A Labour government might have been expected to provide better resources for the poorer sections of society but this did not happen in education between 1945-51.
c. Criticism • During Labour’s term, working-class children still left school at fourteen (fifteen after 1947) with no paper qualifications. • Labour’s education reforms compare poorly with the equality of opportunity and provision being carried out in the areas of social security and health. • The middle class gained more out of Labour’s education reforms than the poor did e.g. the middle class benefited from grammar school fees being abolished.
c. Criticism • Government spending on grammar schools raced ahead of expenditure on secondary moderns and junior secondaries, which the working class mostly attended. • Correlli Barnett argues that Labour should have concentrated on building technical schools to help re-invigorate Britain’s ailing industries.
d. Positive evaluation • Free secondary education for all became a right for the first time. • During Labour’s term in office, 35,000 teachers were trained under the one-year emergency training scheme. • Due to the scale of the economic problems of the postwar period, it was widely recognised that it would take a generation to fully implement the Education Act. Labour was in no position to be radical.
4. Housing • a. The problem • The chronic housing shortage at the end of the war was the most pressing problem facing the government. • There had already been a serious shortage before the war and this was compounded by the destruction of 700,000 houses by Hitler's bombers and rockets.
a. The problem • In 1945, one-third of all houses in Britain were in serious need of repair and renovation. • Very few houses were built during the war. Two-thirds of building labour force was in armed forces. The private sector was virtually closed down. Materials were reserved for war industry. Existing housing stock deteriorated during the war due to neglect. • At the end of the war, the government's housing policy was hindered by the lack of building workers and the shortage and high cost of building materials. Timber had to be imported from Sweden and America.